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General Discussion => Throw Down the Gauntlet => Topic started by: pancakes on December 31, 2016, 09:55:00 PM

Title: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on December 31, 2016, 09:55:00 PM
I found the 2016 thread brilliant. Anyone looking to stick to a grocery budget, reduce spending or perhaps maintain their current frugal grocery habits in 2017 is most welcome.

My goal for January is to come in under $1000 (Australia) for everything including dining out with the plan to lower the goal each month as we progress through the year. A big component for me will be reinstating meal planning and ensuring we have a balanced/healthy and interesting diet.

Please share your goals, tips, recipes and advice and let's see if we can keep the momentum up for all of 2017.

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on January 01, 2017, 06:41:59 AM
It may seem nuts to join in so many gauntlets (catalog, no clothes, writing) but I'm in for this too!  This will actually be one of the bigger challenges for me but it was an ongoing struggle last year so maybe joining a group will help.

We seldom go out to eat, but have a big issue with produce and leftovers going bad... probably at least 20% waste that way.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: frugalfelicia on January 01, 2017, 06:49:04 AM
I'm in! I love finding deals on groceries and planning around what I already have at home.

My budget for 2017 is $50/week (one adult, one child). This has been my budget for a while so I am comfortable with it. Some weeks I'm over if I stock up on sale items or splurge on meat, some I'm under, it all averages out in the end. I do a lot of price matching, buying loss leaders, etc.

Good luck all!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: soccerluvof4 on January 01, 2017, 07:51:24 AM
We categorize it as Groceries and Household Items on mint ( so includes beyond groceries like everything from TP to toothpaste) and in 2016 was 1k a month for a family of 6(12k) with 3 of the kids being teenagers. We came in for the year 121$ under budget which was way down from 2015 like 40%. So my goal this year is to get it down to 900 a month or 10,800 vs 12k for the year. Then after 2017 the next two years I will be having 1 back to back years heading off to college so that will drop at least in house spending :-).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: rachellynn99 on January 01, 2017, 11:50:41 AM
We spend too much on groceries! I won't put a monthly budget for the year, because it will ebb and flow based on the season. My goal for January though for 5 people is $390. I want to eat down the pantry and freezer quite a bit. We have a lot of deer meat as well as canned and frozen fruits and vegetables from the garden. January and February is a great time to use that up because we don't have anything growing fresh here.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on January 02, 2017, 01:00:29 AM
First grocery shop is done!

$70 all up which includes some food for lunches but we will probably end up buying a few lunches this week as well.

Any ideas on what to do with a slightly overripe mango? If I had milk I'd make a smoothie but I don't keep milk in the house any more as a staple.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: frugalfelicia on January 02, 2017, 07:33:34 AM
First grocery shop is done!

$70 all up which includes some food for lunches but we will probably end up buying a few lunches this week as well.

Any ideas on what to do with a slightly overripe mango? If I had milk I'd make a smoothie but I don't keep milk in the house any more as a staple.

Make a smoothie without milk - can just use ice, or yogurt, or chia seeds to thicken.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Guava on January 02, 2017, 09:25:11 AM
I am in! I had a long debate about this because I don't feel like I spend a lot on groceries (usually less than $250 a month) for two adults and one cat but this is one of the few areas left where I can make changes. My goal for this year is $200 a month including household items. I managed to stock up on quite a few household items last year so there is a lot I am not expecting to have to buy at all this year.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: scissorbill on January 02, 2017, 09:30:28 AM
I'm at $96.04 for the first week of 2017! We are a family of five with three sons ranging from 8-15.  It's really more like three adults and two kids.  I've discovered three keys to keeping myself on track: 1)buy as much as I can at Aldi 2)only shop once per week and 3)be flexible like when I found bone in ham for $.89/lb k
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Metta on January 02, 2017, 09:35:05 AM
I'm in as well. My grocery spending is so out of control it is absurd. So my goal is a very modest $500 a month on average. This stretches me since we have never been this low but at the same time I think it is just do-able without discouraging me from the beginning.

An added issue is that we also need to improve our diet this year to lose weight and lower cholesterol.

My goal for January is to come in under $1000 (Australia) for everything including dining out with the plan to lower the goal each month as we progress through the year. A big component for me will be reinstating meal planning and ensuring we have a balanced/healthy and interesting diet.

How are you doing your meal planning? Are you using software or PlantoEat or just pen and pencil?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Mezzie on January 02, 2017, 10:18:05 AM
I think I have a good chance of this since an ALDI was just opened on the route between my home and work. That plus some rebate apps my sister clued me into for when I go to Winco, and better-prepared farmer's market excursions should help quite a bit.

I have a $10 off ALDI coupon for my first visit at that location later this week.

My ultimate goal: $40 in groceries/week on average. That would cut my grocery spending in half compared to last year.

The benefits: 50% of grocery savings to theater excursions; 50% to investments. It's not a ton for either, but it sure beats throwing out food I didn't get to due to poor planning.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Dusty Dog Ranch on January 02, 2017, 11:30:35 AM
Me too! Got a few to-do items in this category...

First we are itemizing our grocery store receipts so we can split out the food from the booze and the toiletries/cleaning supplies. Up until now they've been lumped into the "groceries" category, which is easy to enter in the spreadsheet but obscuring some trends for sure. We been averaging around $1000/mo for two people. I'm sure booze is the biggest hidden expense; time to see what it's been costing us.

Also trying to bring down what we spend on "food at work", which is my category for anything we buy during the work day- coffee/drinks, lunch, snacks. Plan is to make more of this at home; even though we make our own lattes and usually have leftovers for lunches, we are still spending $100 a month at least. Need more go-to meals/hearty snacks when we make a dinner that doesn't have leftovers, or one of us is out in the field. Also going to try a monthly cash allowance for this category: I think seeing the cash dwindle will be helpful for me.

Finally, I am simplifying our menu and ingredients list (thanks for the idea, Frugalwoods); I don't know how much this will help, but I'm going to try to price check our local stores so I can at least recognize a good deal in the weekly circular and potentially fill the freezer.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on January 02, 2017, 10:48:14 PM

How are you doing your meal planning? Are you using software or PlantoEat or just pen and pencil?

Pen and paper. I have a cute weekly planner pad that I write it out on and then stick it up on the fridge.

The best thing is coming home from work and not having to think about what to cook or when to start.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: mustachepungoeshere on January 03, 2017, 01:23:44 AM

How are you doing your meal planning? Are you using software or PlantoEat or just pen and pencil?

Pen and paper. I have a cute weekly planner pad that I write it out on and then stick it up on the fridge.

The best thing is coming home from work and not having to think about what to cook or when to start.

That does seem easier.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on January 03, 2017, 06:48:00 AM
the biggest thing i've found that saves money is just to only buy whats on sale and plan your meals around that.  just about any meal can be cooked out of the sale items at a grocery store.  that and when its an aldi sale its even better.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: rachellynn99 on January 03, 2017, 08:00:41 PM
Tonight was spaghetti using deer meat and homemade pasta sauce I canned this summer. Home made bread from the breadmaker and steamed broccoli. There is plenty left for lunch tomorrow for all of us, maybe even for a few days.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on January 15, 2017, 01:50:32 AM
Checking in on day 15 having just done the groceries for next week.

We are at a total of $550 for the month so far with lots to work on. $130 of that has been on buying lunches at work and $100 on dining out and take away for dinner. Still I think there is a reasonable chance we will come in around on target at $1000. Will certainly need to set a much more challenging target for Feb.

Some time in Feb we are also going to do a big cook up of freezer meals as we are expecting baby #1 either late feb or early march and want to have ready cooked meals available. My plan so far is a huge pot of bolognese sauce.

Any suggestions for bulk meals that freeze well? I'm in the southern hemisphere so it is summer at the moment if that helps. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Mezzie on January 15, 2017, 10:27:26 AM
The bad: I ate out a few times this week.
The good: I froze stuff because of that, and now I don't have to spend anything on groceries this week. I spent $42 eating out but don't have to spend $40 on groceries (we got some leftovers out of the restaurant meals, too), so I'm only out $2. I'll recoup that by only spending $38 on groceries next week.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: tortoiseshell on January 15, 2017, 01:23:18 PM
I'm in! As I mentioned in the Peach Fuzz goals thread, I'd like to keep our total food spending under $350 each month (with a stretch goal of $300).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Guava on January 15, 2017, 04:04:02 PM
Any suggestions for bulk meals that freeze well? I'm in the southern hemisphere so it is summer at the moment if that helps.

I have frozen pulled pork after it has been cooked and had good luck with it. Also meatballs and homemade pasta sauce. I really just like to freeze meat into specific portions and add pasta or rice with some vegetables. You could probably do casseroles too.

Edited to add breakfast burritos freeze very well. They make a great quick breakfast when you are tired.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Travis on January 15, 2017, 04:34:11 PM
I'm in.  We spent a total of $4950 at the grocery store last year. This includes household items purchased at grocery stores, but also includes 4 weeks of vacation where other people were feeding us.  My goal is $400/month on groceries.  The dietician on my unit's staff gave us a tour of the commissary a couple days ago pointing out what foods to aim for/avoid and we're trying to incorporate that into our meal planning.  I'm trying to cut out sugar fillers in my lunches (granola bars, fruity yogurt) and make sure I have a bigger breakfast as well (pop tarts and nutrigrain bars).  When I can sit down for a few minutes to eat, my breakfasts consist of either oatmeal w/raisins or eggs and sausage.  I'm going to try a prep/freeze recipe for breakfast burritos of eggs, ground turkey, and bell peppers.  I'm aiming for large batch foods that I can portion out like beans and rice and my wife is looking at some different vegetables to mix in to our meals.  The hardest part will be the child.  He's six and throws a fit any time veggies go near his plate and his snacks consist of meal bars.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on January 15, 2017, 09:59:57 PM
Some time in Feb we are also going to do a big cook up of freezer meals as we are expecting baby #1 either late feb or early march and want to have ready cooked meals available. My plan so far is a huge pot of bolognese sauce.

Any suggestions for bulk meals that freeze well? I'm in the southern hemisphere so it is summer at the moment if that helps.

Google  "Once A Month Cooking" for lots of recipes. Some years ago I used to mass-cook pasta dishes, i.e. macaroni and cheese/lasagna/stuffed shells, then do lentil soup/lentil loaf, then a whole stack of quiches, and a chicken pot pie/chicken casseroles. I also did a meatballs, a meatloaf, shepherd's pie, and stuffed peppers all in one day.  I stopped because husband and child got bored of the food, but it's still a good idea even if you don't eat from the freezer every day. This is all hearty stuff, maybe you want to do something like pre-marinate things to grill, then freeze.

Anyway, I still find it convenient to do things like cook a lot of ground meat or beans and freeze it in bags, and freeze spice mixes such as sofritos ahead of time.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on January 16, 2017, 03:20:30 AM
Wonderful thank you for all the freezer suggestions so far.

We have the added challenge of no microwave for reheating but it seems between the oven and stove we might be ok with most suggestions. Will definitely do a big batch of pulled pork.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on January 16, 2017, 04:50:51 AM
I should join this as well to become more aware. I checked on my bank how much I spent on groceries last year and I got scared of how much that was. The even more scary thing is that I can't see how much my husband has spent, I only know that I shop groceries much more often than he does, as I pass the shop on my way home from work.

I don't include eating out in this thread, as we seldom eat out. It also doesn't include booze, because in Norway you can't buy that in the grocery store, except for low % beer, which we brew ourselves.

Things done so far in 2017:
- Made a cheaper store my main grocery store, even though the parking there is slightly more inconvenient than the more expensive store.
- Bought some products in the expensive shop when they had a 10 NOK = approx 1,5 dollar action on a choice of products. I bought some of the products that we would need some day anyway, like deodorants and bread toppings.
- Got a credit card that pays back 2% of the amount spent on groceries and I started paying with it in the shops. I also put some money on that CC account, so I don't risk not paying the bill on time.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on January 16, 2017, 04:57:57 AM

Any ideas on what to do with a slightly overripe mango? If I had milk I'd make a smoothie but I don't keep milk in the house any more as a staple.

Mango lassi (yummie):
http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/mango-lassi-recipe/
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: minimalistgamer on January 16, 2017, 05:15:27 AM
I should join this as well to become more aware. I checked on my bank how much I spent on groceries last year and I got scared of how much that was. The even more scary thing is that I can't see how much my husband has spent, I only know that I shop groceries much more often than he does, as I pass the shop on my way home from work.

I don't include eating out in this thread, as we seldom eat out. It also doesn't include booze, because in Norway you can't buy that in the grocery store, except for low % beer, which we brew ourselves.

Things done so far in 2017:
- Made a cheaper store my main grocery store, even though the parking there is slightly more inconvenient than the more expensive store.
- Bought some products in the expensive shop when they had a 10 NOK = approx 1,5 dollar action on a choice of products. I bought some of the products that we would need some day anyway, like deodorants and bread toppings.
- Got a credit card that pays back 2% of the amount spent on groceries and I started paying with it in the shops. I also put some money on that CC account, so I don't risk not paying the bill on time.

My wife (is from Norway), and we are thinking about moving to Norway in 2020. I've got some questions about financial life in Norway, and I do not want to hijack this thread. Would it be OK if I were to send you a message? My wife moved here after school, and she is kind of clueless about taxes, average income etc.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on January 16, 2017, 05:57:25 AM
My wife (is from Norway), and we are thinking about moving to Norway in 2020. I've got some questions about financial life in Norway, and I do not want to hijack this thread. Would it be OK if I were to send you a message? My wife moved here after school, and she is kind of clueless about taxes, average income etc.

Thanks.

Welcome to our Norway thread:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/meetups-and-social-events/any-mustachians-living-in-norway/

We have been using Norwegian as the main language there, but feel free to ask your questions in English. Then we will answer them in English.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Kaybee on January 16, 2017, 08:53:42 AM
I'd like to join this challenge!  I'm not actually 100% sure of what my grocery amounts were (I used to be obsessive with tracking and then my work situation changed slightly and it became a bit trickier...I got lazy...you know how this ends.)  When I started tracking again late last year my grocery budget was $250/month but that seems high and was probably affected by all the potlucks/holiday dinners that were going on.  I've got it set to $220 now but that's mostly a figure I pulled out of the air, I'm positive I can get it lower (I'm single and, when at home, a strict vegetarian). 

I also have $150 in another "food fund" for food purchased when I'm on the road for work (almost half the month).  THAT amount might need to be raised because although I try to pack food for my trips, I don't want to be forced to resort to cheap fast food when I DO have to eat out.

This is where my numbers are so far for this month:
Groceries 61.80/220 (I did a pretty big shop right before the month began, and this also includes $15 of wine - not a regular purchase for me so this number is a bit skewed)
Layover Food 89.80/150 (this concerns me as one of my trips was actually cancelled so this number would be much higher at this  point if nothing had changed)

Once we get further into the year I will have a better idea of where my numbers should be so as to provide enough money for healthy food but not be too "spendy".
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on January 16, 2017, 09:03:36 AM
I'm not doing so well (let some meat and leftovers spoil in the fridge) but better than usual. Our monthly spend for a family of 5 ranges between $800-1200, depending on whether I make a Costco run or not.  This month we've been eating out of our pantry more. I'm also teaching myself to cook Indian food, which is popular with the family and will get us to eat more vegetarian.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Guava on January 16, 2017, 11:24:35 AM
I was doing really good until hubby just went shopping with me. We have $40 to last the rest of the month so it looks like we will be eating down the pantry and buying fresh fruit and vegetables only.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: rachellynn99 on January 16, 2017, 01:16:52 PM
Tonight is crock pot chicken and dumplins. It's so easy. 3 big fat chicken breasts ( we raise and butcher our chickens) then 2 big jars of cream of chicken soup, then a few cups of chicken broth. Cook on high in crock pot for about 6 hours. Then about 30 minutes before you eat, tear apart a can of biscuits and put in the crockpot. Season with salt and pepper as desired. This makes a nice dinner for the 5 of us on this rainy day with leftovers for me and hubs for tomorrow at lunch.
You could of course make your own biscuits very easily, but I had these in the fridge so used them.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Guava on January 16, 2017, 01:54:21 PM
Tonight is crock pot chicken and dumplins. It's so easy. 3 big fat chicken breasts ( we raise and butcher our chickens) then 2 big jars of cream of chicken soup, then a few cups of chicken broth. Cook on high in crock pot for about 6 hours. Then about 30 minutes before you eat, tear apart a can of biscuits and put in the crockpot. Season with salt and pepper as desired. This makes a nice dinner for the 5 of us on this rainy day with leftovers for me and hubs for tomorrow at lunch.
You could of course make your own biscuits very easily, but I had these in the fridge so used them.

I think I will make this next weekend! Thanks for the recipe, it sounds delicious!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Travis on January 16, 2017, 11:46:39 PM
Tonight was our first big attempt at meal prepping. We made breakfast burritos and a few servings of beans and rice.

Breakfast burritos: (prep time 45 mins)
12 eggs @ $.89/doz
1 pound ground turkey @ $1.49/pound
half bag frozen bell peppers @ $1.70/bag
1 cup shredded cheese
Large whole wheat tortillas @ $3.98/20ct
Makes 12 burritos @ $.47ea
Breakfast will also include an orange @ $.30ea

Lunch: (prep time 15 minutes)
$.73 serving of black beans and rice (5oz beans, 4oz brown rice)
$.25 banana
$.69 5oz cup of greek yogurt
$.30 ham and cheese sandwich
$.25 almonds
Lunch total: $2.22

This month I've doubled the amount of running I usually do and hopefully this keeps me fueled and full throughout the day.  If these meals work out I'm going to experiment with other vegetables and spices.  As we went shopping and rebuilding our price book I couldn't help but stare at yogurt prices.  If you want nutritious yogurt, you have to pay for it.  The sugar-filled Yoplaits I've been eating cost $.40ea while the protein filled greek yogurts cost $.70 to $.80ea.  I could shave a few cents off by buying in a large container, but I'm not sure how I'd serve myself. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on January 17, 2017, 12:32:20 AM
I made a mistake yesterday. I had to go to the shopping center to ask whether they could repair my watch. I also needed milk and some black currant syrup. I chose to buy that in the nearest shop that was in the same center (the expensive supermarket). I grabs the products without looking at the price, as I didn't expect them to be expensive. But I got a shock when paying. One milk and 1 bottle of syrup cost me 64 NOK. That seemed very expensive. I checked this morning on the internet what such a bottle of syrup costs in an online supermarket and the price was 31 NOK. Milk is typically 13 NOK. So I have been paying way too much for these products. This shop must really be ridiculously expensive. Let's not shop there ever again!

As this used to be my preferred shop last year, because it is most conveniently situated, I must have spent too much on many things. It's not that I never compare prices. On the contrary, if I can choose between 2 products, I will always consider buying the cheapest one. I also always check priced on meat and on bread and don't buy the expensive ones. But obviously this shop prices very unusual products very highly.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: westtoeast on January 17, 2017, 04:36:27 AM
I'd like to jump in! I've been doing Uber Frugal January and realized pretty quickly that one of the only places to "trim the fat" is my grocery budget. For just myself I used to spend $330 (I do have dietary restrictions that complicate). My goal is to spend $50 a week, or $225 a month without giving up organic/grass fed/hormone free.

My plan is to do lots of batch cooking of things like soups, and to limit my meat consumption to one meat item per week (for example, 1 lb of ground turkey that might be stretched through 4 or 5 lunches). I've also downloaded the apps to the stores I shop at and I'm trying to look ahead at the discounts to plan my meals. I also need to figure out how to bake my own gluten free bread. Finally, I will eat lots of potatoes, rice, and beans!

Food goals this week: Already made a sausage, potato and cabbage scramble for lunches. Tonight I will make a lentil shepherd's pie that will hopefully last two nights (feeding myself and SO). I will be filling in the gaps this week with beans/tortilla and tuna. I spent $41 this week. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on January 17, 2017, 07:32:57 AM
This month I've doubled the amount of running I usually do and hopefully this keeps me fueled and full throughout the day.  If these meals work out I'm going to experiment with other vegetables and spices.  As we went shopping and rebuilding our price book I couldn't help but stare at yogurt prices.  If you want nutritious yogurt, you have to pay for it.  The sugar-filled Yoplaits I've been eating cost $.40ea while the protein filled greek yogurts cost $.70 to $.80ea.  I could shave a few cents off by buying in a large container, but I'm not sure how I'd serve myself.

You can also make Greek yogurt.  There are good crockpot recipes online. For me, it ends up being 1/2 to 2/3 of the price of the large containers at the store, and that's using organic milk.  A gallon of milk will make about half a gallon of Greek yogurt after the whey is strained out (you can make less than that at once depending on how quickly you go through it).  Then you can stick it in little Tupperwares or Mason jars to take with you to work.

This reminds me, I need to get back to doing this instead of buying yogurt...
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on January 18, 2017, 01:13:31 AM
You can also make Greek yogurt.  There are good crockpot recipes online. For me, it ends up being 1/2 to 2/3 of the price of the large containers at the store, and that's using organic milk.  A gallon of milk will make about half a gallon of Greek yogurt after the whey is strained out (you can make less than that at once depending on how quickly you go through it).  Then you can stick it in little Tupperwares or Mason jars to take with you to work.

Thanks for telling us. I would like to try this out.

I have been thinking before about adding new milk to yoghurt, to turn it into more yoghurt. But I thought it wasn't possible to do that with the normal pasteurized milk that we buy in a shop and I think it was too much hassle for me to find a farmer to buy milk there. But I'll look into whether your idea is possible with "normal" milk.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on January 18, 2017, 06:59:05 AM
gonna shoot for 300 a month including the half a cow extrapolated over 12 months
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on January 18, 2017, 07:04:17 AM
You can also make Greek yogurt.  There are good crockpot recipes online. For me, it ends up being 1/2 to 2/3 of the price of the large containers at the store, and that's using organic milk.  A gallon of milk will make about half a gallon of Greek yogurt after the whey is strained out (you can make less than that at once depending on how quickly you go through it).  Then you can stick it in little Tupperwares or Mason jars to take with you to work.

Thanks for telling us. I would like to try this out.

I have been thinking before about adding new milk to yoghurt, to turn it into more yoghurt. But I thought it wasn't possible to do that with the normal pasteurized milk that we buy in a shop and I think it was too much hassle for me to find a farmer to buy milk there. But I'll look into whether your idea is possible with "normal" milk.

You can use pasteurized milk (which is what I've used), but not "ultra-pasteurized".  Here's one of the sets of instructions I've used: http://www.ayearofslowcooking.com/2008/10/you-can-make-yogurt-in-your-crockpot.html
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FernFree on January 18, 2017, 08:06:27 AM
I really need help in this area.  For my daughter and myself, we're spending about $900/month on groceries and restaurants.  this includes toiletries, alcohol, dog food, etc., but still seems very, very high for two people. 

I think some of my biggest problems are:
1.  Sometimes after a long day at work I feel so tired I just grab fast food instead of cooking.
2.  For years I've been going out for lunch at work and it usually costs $9 - $12.  I need to get organized and bring lunch from home.
3.  My daughter hates leftovers, so often we have good stuff in the fridge and it goes to waste.
4.  I like to cook and try out new recipes, but often they call for fancy, expensive ingredients that then sit in the pantry until they expire.  I need to learn to cook and like more cheap and easy things.

Look forward to seeing tips and tricks from everyone on this thread. :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on January 18, 2017, 08:09:27 AM
I really need help in this area.  For my daughter and myself, we're spending about $900/month on groceries and restaurants.  this includes toiletries, alcohol, dog food, etc., but still seems very, very high for two people. 

I think some of my biggest problems are:
1.  Sometimes after a long day at work I feel so tired I just grab fast food instead of cooking.
2.  For years I've been going out for lunch at work and it usually costs $9 - $12.  I need to get organized and bring lunch from home.
3.  My daughter hates leftovers, so often we have good stuff in the fridge and it goes to waste.
4.  I like to cook and try out new recipes, but often they call for fancy, expensive ingredients that then sit in the pantry until they expire.  I need to learn to cook and like more cheap and easy things.

Look forward to seeing tips and tricks from everyone on this thread. :)

I dont have kids yet but soon will.  and "hating leftover" isnt an option in our house.  you eat them or you dont eat.  I've never understood the "i dont like leftovers" statement from anyone.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on January 18, 2017, 08:36:40 AM
Count me in for this challenge! Although groceries have always been one area where I feel like I do pretty well, after participating in the Eat All the Food In Your House (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/eat-all-the-food-in-your-house-take-2/) thread I've realized that I can in fact do better.

Our grocery budget includes food and household/toiletries/cleaning stuff, but does not include dog food or treats. Its just my husband and I. I've had the budget at $300/month and generally stick to that pretty well, but my goal for this year is to get it down to $250/month. I almost never eat out, although hubby does use his personal spending money to go out with friends or to grab fast food now and then - that comes out of his "allowance" and not our grocery budget.

For January, I've implemented a pantry challenge in an effort to eat down much of my stockpiled goods and continue to use up some of the oddball things hiding in the back of the cupboard and depths of the freezer. I'm only buying fresh produce, dairy, and a few essentials at the store each week and aiming to keep this month's total grocery spending at $150, and so far I'm right on track.

One of the habits I need to continue cultivating is to make sure I'm using all of the things I already bought before I got out and buy a bunch more stuff. I'm a big fan of stockpiling stuff when its on sale, but sometimes I don't manage the stockpile as well as I should and stuff goes bad or gets lost. I also need to continue to make stuff from scratch rather than buying convenience items - its healthier and cheaper, and generally tastes better too!

I can't wait to see everyone's progress :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on January 18, 2017, 08:42:17 AM
Quote
3.  My daughter hates leftovers, so often we have good stuff in the fridge and it goes to waste.
4.  I like to cook and try out new recipes, but often they call for fancy, expensive ingredients that then sit in the pantry until they expire.  I need to learn to cook and like more cheap and easy things.

I totally get you!  I have these same problems. I am thinking that the answer to #3 is to freeze leftovers immediately after meals. Otherwise, we just have to cook less of some foods that don't freeze well.

FWIW, I thought I'd do some Indian cooking 9 years ago, so I bought a lot of spices (Indian stores have spices cheap). My cooking was a flop, so the spices followed me through three moves unused.  I recently tried again with new recipes, and apparently the elderly spices passed muster... everyone yummed up my aloo gobi and saag without complaints.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on January 18, 2017, 08:50:07 AM
I started making greek yogurt in our instant pot.  super simple and huge cost savings. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: tarheeldan on January 18, 2017, 08:56:10 AM
I'm in! I spent an average of $200/mo on groceries (food only) in 2016 and am looking to slash that to $150/mo :-) (It's just me)

I think I have a good shot at it - someone (In case you find this - thank you!! I tried to find your post to say it there but I failed :/ ) posted these in another thread: http://www.superhealthykids.com/10-quick-healthy-freezer-slow-cooker-meals-no-prep-cooking-needed/

I got all the ingredients for all 10 family size meals (each meal =  ~4-5 actual meals for me)  for about $90 at Market Basket. Woohoo!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: frugalfelicia on January 18, 2017, 05:20:08 PM
My budget is $50/week or $216/mth. So far I have spent $106 this month, so I am on track, yay!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on January 19, 2017, 12:12:06 PM
This is easily my biggest area for improvement...we have a LONG way to go actually on the grocery spending. Here are our stats: family of 5 with 2 adults, 16 year old boy who plays sports (who eats more than the rest of us combined), 7 year old boy, 5 year old girl. I've made strides since beginning tracking in 2015, but we have a long way to go. My target right now, for grocery and eating out combined, is a ghastly $1200 per month. I know this sounds like a lot, and it IS a lot, but we frequently have a hoard of teenage boys in our house eating food with reckless abandon. It's worth it to me to pay for the food and know where the teenagers are and what they're doing!

We have already made some improvements in this arena:
2015 our food spending was $2126.95 per month, yes, this is wretchedly obscene; I seriously considered not even posting this here because it is SO horrendous
2016 our food spending was $1774.69 per month. Still horrendous, but down an average of  $352.26 per month compared to 2015

For 2017, my target is $1200 per month. As of today, the 19th, we are currently sitting at $776.15 spent for the month, which has us on track to spend $1266 this month at our current pace.

Please be kind...I am certainly getting some push back from the husband and teenager on trying to get our food spending under control. We both have 6 figure salaries so it's hard to convince my husband that this is something we need to reign in. It is our easiest place to cut the fat though, so I'm determined to get these numbers down.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: recklesslysober on January 19, 2017, 01:23:43 PM
My average monthly spending on groceries last year was $350 CAD. Definitely need to bring this down.

I've actually been cooking a lot more the past couple of months but the grocery bill has steadily been going down because I don't really buy snacks or pre-made food anymore.

Spending so far for January: $87.45     
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Metta on January 19, 2017, 07:56:58 PM
This is easily my biggest area for improvement...we have a LONG way to go actually on the grocery spending. Here are our stats: family of 5 with 2 adults, 16 year old boy who plays sports (who eats more than the rest of us combined), 7 year old boy, 5 year old girl. I've made strides since beginning tracking in 2015, but we have a long way to go. My target right now, for grocery and eating out combined, is a ghastly $1200 per month. I know this sounds like a lot, and it IS a lot, but we frequently have a hoard of teenage boys in our house eating food with reckless abandon. It's worth it to me to pay for the food and know where the teenagers are and what they're doing!

We have already made some improvements in this arena:
2015 our food spending was $2126.95 per month, yes, this is wretchedly obscene; I seriously considered not even posting this here because it is SO horrendous
2016 our food spending was $1774.69 per month. Still horrendous, but down an average of  $352.26 per month compared to 2015

For 2017, my target is $1200 per month. As of today, the 19th, we are currently sitting at $776.15 spent for the month, which has us on track to spend $1266 this month at our current pace.

Please be kind...I am certainly getting some push back from the husband and teenager on trying to get our food spending under control. We both have 6 figure salaries so it's hard to convince my husband that this is something we need to reign in. It is our easiest place to cut the fat though, so I'm determined to get these numbers down.

It is also our biggest improvement opportunity. In 2015 we averaged $1125 a month for groceries for the two of us. In 2016, groceries averaged $904 per month, which was an improvement. My hope for this year is to bring the amount down to under $600 per month. There are only two of us and I left my job at the beginning of this year, so I have time to do what I need to do. We entertain a lot but if I don't have to work 60-80 hours a week, I have time to make the food for guests instead of buying pre-made items.

I also hope to waste a lot less food.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Kaybee on January 19, 2017, 10:58:44 PM

I have been thinking before about adding new milk to yoghurt, to turn it into more yoghurt. But I thought it wasn't possible to do that with the normal pasteurized milk that we buy in a shop and I think it was too much hassle for me to find a farmer to buy milk there. But I'll look into whether your idea is possible with "normal" milk.

I used to make homemade yogurt all the time (not even using a crockpot, just a cooler filled with warm water).  My first batch needed a small container of yogurt with active cultures but after I did that once, I just used my own yogurt as a starter with store bought milk.  Easy peasy!!  I developed mild lactose intolerance so I just avoid dairy but I loved my homemade yogurt (and, as the other poster suggested, you can just strain it a bit to make a thicker yogurt or strain it even longer to make a yogurt-cheese-ish spread).

I'm not sure if I can post this but this is the link for the yogurt instructions I use to follow:
http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2009/10/how-to-make-homemade-yogurt-2/ (http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2009/10/how-to-make-homemade-yogurt-2/)

Edited to add:
I had to hit the grocery store so my monthly total is 96.21 so far BUT, that also includes some HBA stuff (I think about $10 worth?  I already tossed the receipt, oops).  I'm doing REALLY well this month but part of that was because I did a big shop at the end of last month and I've been really focusing on going through my pantry.  We'll see how furture months turn out, lol.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on January 20, 2017, 12:58:25 AM
Yesterday after swimming my husband and I shopped groceries for the weekend. We choose the cheaper store, unlike the better sorted store that we visited last week. We found cheap and healthy bread. My husband thinks we can save a lot of money by buying cheaper bread, as we eat so much of it. This shop definitively had cheaper bread than the shop I used to buy bread at.

I also found good quality sausages (93% meat) among a cheap brand. This thing is new to Norway. Just a few years ago, sausages didn't contain more than 40-50% meat. A few years ago an expensive brand was introduced that sold sausages with 95% meat. And now the affordable brands are following. That's a good thing.

For the rest we bought nothing else but some vegetables and milk.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on January 20, 2017, 05:08:21 AM
One thing to watch here that i think is often overlooked as people focus on cutting.  Dont try to meet a monthly goal and pass up super sales on things that can be frozen or keep for a long time like canned goods. 

bulk buying super sales and knowing them when you see them is a cornerstone IMO of keeping costs under control in the grocery dept.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on January 20, 2017, 11:09:08 AM
My husband went to the store last night with a very short and particular list, and he bought the most ridiculously expensive white bread for our uber-picky 7 year old (which was not on the list). I do splurge sometimes on Dave's killer 21 grain at Costco (2 loaves for $7), but he bought their white bread for $6.49 for one loaf. We have occasionally bought it in the past, but at another store when it was on sale (still outrageous at $4.99 or whatever their "sale" price was). It is only because of the Beatles thread with the grocery discussion that I even looked at the price of bread on the receipt last night. So, thank you, MMM community. It is never, ever happening again...I guess if it's the impetus that I needed to finally make my own damned bread then it will end up being worth it in the end. It is supposed to rain the entire weekend so it sounds like a good time to spend in the kitchen anyway.

I wonder how many more outrageous, easy to fix items I'll come across now that I'm checking every grocery price.

At least everything else on the receipt was reasonable, and he even got tomatillos to make green salsa instead of tomatoes to make red salsa since they were cheaper last night. Homemade salsa is a staple in our house; it is easily 1/4 the cost of the good store-bought fresh, local salsa we used to buy. Maybe even cheaper.

And, on the upside, even with the outrageous bread purchase, we are now on track to spend $1260 this month, not $1266, since we don't need to buy anything at all today. With the massive rain all weekend we'll probably try to avoid going to the store, or only grab a couple things (fresh fruit/veggies) if we really need them. We are focusing this weekend on eating leftovers and cooking things from what we have.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on January 20, 2017, 11:25:06 AM
My husband went to the store last night with a very short and particular list, and he bought the most ridiculously expensive white bread for our uber-picky 7 year old (which was not on the list). I do splurge sometimes on Dave's killer 21 grain at Costco (2 loaves for $7), but he bought their white bread for $6.49 for one loaf. We have occasionally bought it in the past, but at another store when it was on sale (still outrageous at $4.99 or whatever their "sale" price was). It is only because of the Beatles thread with the grocery discussion that I even looked at the price of bread on the receipt last night. So, thank you, MMM community. It is never, ever happening again...I guess if it's the impetus that I needed to finally make my own damned bread then it will end up being worth it in the end. It is supposed to rain the entire weekend so it sounds like a good time to spend in the kitchen anyway.

I wonder how many more outrageous, easy to fix items I'll come across now that I'm checking every grocery price.

At least everything else on the receipt was reasonable, and he even got tomatillos to make green salsa instead of tomatoes to make red salsa since they were cheaper last night. Homemade salsa is a staple in our house; it is easily 1/4 the cost of the good store-bought fresh, local salsa we used to buy. Maybe even cheaper.

And, on the upside, even with the outrageous bread purchase, we are now on track to spend $1260 this month, not $1266, since we don't need to buy anything at all today. With the massive rain all weekend we'll probably try to avoid going to the store, or only grab a couple things (fresh fruit/veggies) if we really need them. We are focusing this weekend on eating leftovers and cooking things from what we have.

homemade salsa is so easy and awesome i make a batch every couple weeks.  Roast 3(or more for spicier) jalepenos and 1lb of romas.  blend with red onion garlic lime cumin salt apple cider vinegar and cilantro. 

Yogurt has been my new big one i'm making its 1/4 (or less with sale milk) the price when compared to aldi and with an instant pot super easy. 

3.49 a quart or
75c for 2 quarts home made with milk on sale. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on January 23, 2017, 01:14:39 PM
Another weekly grocery shopping and I am well on track to meet my January budget goal ($150). This week I spent $24.67, bringing my month-to-date total to $111.22, and I have only one more shopping trip planned before the end of the month. This week I bought mostly fresh produce, as I'm still working on my pantry challenge to clear out old stuff from the cupboards and freezer before buying more, but I also got some cleaning stuff at Big Lots since it was 20% off day, and a gallon of milk. Oh, and a free can of refried beans (had a free e-coupon loaded to my shopper card). Free food is awesome. I brought hubby to the store with me, and when I told him to go grab some lettuce, he came back and told me that Romaine was on sale for .99, whereas the Green Leaf Lettuce we normally get was $1.29. You know which one we got :) Sure, it was only .30, but if you figure we can make a similar choice on many of the items we want to buy, it can really add up.

Last night I mentioned to my husband how little we'd spent on groceries this month and he was pretty amazed. He's always been a "buy what you want whenever you feel like it" type, so converting him to Mustachianism has been a long process. But he has come quite a way and being able to show him how much we are saving (and still eating quite well) really helps in reinforcing these ideas.

From February forward the goal will be $250/month. I'm just about out of meat so will resume stocking up on that when the sales are good. Before that happens though, I really need to do an inventory of the chest freezer.

I'm intrigued by the discussions of making your own yogurt, and may have to give that a go. I normally get it on sale for 1.67-2.00 per quart, but its not always on sale when I need it, and it sounds like it would still be way cheaper to make it. For those that make it, how long does it keep? Can I make a few weeks worth at a time?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Kaybee on January 23, 2017, 01:23:42 PM
For those that make it, how long does it keep? Can I make a few weeks worth at a time?

Yep!!  I used to use 4 litres of milk at a time to make yogurt and that would last me almost a month.  I'm not sure what the food safety guidelines are for homemade yogurt but I did this for years without running into any issues.  Just make sure everything you use to make the yogurt and the jars you store it in are SUPER clean. :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on January 23, 2017, 01:37:33 PM
super easy to make with the instant pot.  you can set a deal alert on SD for an instant pot just make sure it has the yogurt setting. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on January 23, 2017, 05:07:44 PM
This weekend we did not eat out at all (weekends are often a weakness if we're out running errands, but we planned ahead and ate at home). We also made homemade hummus for the first time, and it was fantastic, as well as being a fraction the price of what we would normally spend. Definitely a new staple! I also made my first homemade bread attempt, but even though the flavor was good and it looked done, the inside was not done. Oh well, I will try again! We may end up over my $1200 target for the month (right now we're on pace for $1270), but considering the same month last year was $1522 with $629 of that being eating out, and we have cut eating out to $238 so far this month, I feel like it's a pretty good improvement. Eating out together at lunch, since we work together, has long been a big weakness of ours. We are really trying to go home for leftovers more often since home is 2 miles away.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on January 23, 2017, 05:13:43 PM
We are $850 into the grocery spend now for the month.

I don't think we will have trouble coming in under our $1000 goal but I'm not sure there is too much to celebrate. Our actual grocery store spend has been $280, the rest of the $850 is made up of take away, cafes, dining out and alcohol (I'm not drinking at the moment so I don't even get to participate in that category).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: rpr on January 23, 2017, 06:42:50 PM
Joining in. Don't have any targets so far. Just want to try and be mindful of the spend. Usually groceries + other household items (cleaners/soaps etc) run about $600 per month. Eating out is another $200 monthly.

The spend for this week so far has been $115. This is just two of us (vegetarian) but we live in an expensive area for groceries. As a point of reference, 1 gallon of milk is $5.50 or thereabouts in the local supermarket. Everything has to be shipped in a long ways to get here. But the local farmers market is nice. Spent $30 for colored bell peppers, papayas, bananas, tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, pesto sauce. The readymade thing from the market was a tub of pesto sauce -- this should last us two weeks. Use it both as a sandwich spread and also with pasta.  I suppose that could be made at home but too lazy :(

Mostly we cook at home. But  regularly get some items that get expensive fairly quickly. Two of our favorite veggies are cauliflower and colored bell peppers. They each ran about $4 per pound this week. I got 2 pounds of cauliflower and 3 pounds of bell peppers. We go through a lots of these every week.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on January 25, 2017, 07:31:00 AM
I also made my first homemade bread attempt, but even though the flavor was good and it looked done, the inside was not done.

Congratulations on your first homemade bread! Here's a couple of tips: If you have an instant-read thermometer, you can use it to check the internal temp of the bread, details here: http://www.thekitchn.com/perfect-bread-use-your-thermom-40644

If not, you can do what I do, which is thump the bread lightly. Then, turn it out of its pan (if you're using one) and thump the bottom too. If it sounds hollow on both sides, it's done. If not, put it on the rack (no pan needed) and bake for a few more minutes before checking again.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on January 25, 2017, 10:18:30 AM
Thanks for the bread tips, Poundwise! I don't have a thermometer like that, but I'll keep trying and will thump it. I also found a recipe for homemade pita bread last night (on the King Arthur website) so I think we're going to try that this weekend. The bread tasted perfectly good, but was a tad doughy in the middle, so at least I feel I have a good recipe and just need to dial in the baking part of it.

It is Wednesday and we haven't eaten out since Wednesday of last week, when we went to lunch and redeemed a free slice of pizza at our favorite restaurant (of course we also bought a slice and two small salads, but drank tap water). We have food at home for lunch today. I probably need to run by the store today to get a couple perishable items today (milk, bananas), but we are doing really well with the groceries this month. At least, well for us. I feel optimistic we can finally get our food spending to a more reasonable level this year.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: westtoeast on January 25, 2017, 03:02:06 PM
I am doing well so far! This week I spent $33. I am eating chicken/cabbage/mashed potatoes, beans/rice/greens, quinoa/turkey meatballs, lentil soup (from freezer) and white bean soup (also from freezer). I am snacking on air popped popcorn when I feel the need. Next week will be a little more spendy because I will not have anything in the fridge. My best strategies at this point have been: meal planning, limiting myself to one meat item per week, and batch cooking with leftovers for the freezer. I am going to keep posting once a week to stay accountable!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Kaybee on January 26, 2017, 02:36:31 PM
One thing to watch here that i think is often overlooked as people focus on cutting.  Dont try to meet a monthly goal and pass up super sales on things that can be frozen or keep for a long time like canned goods. 

bulk buying super sales and knowing them when you see them is a cornerstone IMO of keeping costs under control in the grocery dept.

I was beating myself up for "overspending" today because I stopped in to pick up some milk and saw that a few shelf-stable things I was going to run out of in a week or two were on sale.  I know that, in the long run, I've saved money but it still kinda irks me when I see that I went over the lower monthly goal I had set myself.  It's funny but this is one thing my brain doesn't seem to want to use logic on, it just likes seeing that my number is lower than it was last month. :S
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Travis on January 26, 2017, 06:57:26 PM
Assuming today was our last grocery day of the month, we spent $456, but $68 was for non-food items. Most of those non-food items won't be purchased again for a couple months at least.  $56 of the food was for "splurges" such as ice cream, cookies, sushi, and a salmon.  We also spent $58 on restaurants this month which is pretty good for us.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on January 27, 2017, 01:10:21 PM
have some bigger buys coming up next week for a couple coming over for dinner.  but looking like we will be really cheap this month with no booze.  currently at 175 plus half a cow at 64 a month.  239 on grocery and 69 at restaurants.

probably going to spend another 30 or so for the dinner.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on January 30, 2017, 02:04:45 PM
I think we are going to do it!! I think this accountability thing really works for me. My goal was to get my month's spending down to $1200, for all food (groceries and eating out combined). Yes this is still a lot, but compared to an average of $1774/month last year and $2126/month the year before, it's a good goal for my family of 5. With just today and tomorrow left, and groceries on-hand for both days, we have spend $1083. We've been MUCH more strategic about our purchases, flexibly changing meal plans if something else is on a good sale, not wasting as much. AND I made another attempt at homemade bread this past weekend and it went much better, so no more outrageously expensive fancy store-bought bread for us! The kids are gobbling it up and they love it. :)

The best part about this is that my husband is completely on board. He has always been of the "go out to lunch every day" variety, so it has taken some convincing. We still did eat out 1-2 times a week this month, which I would like to cut to a max of 1, but as long as we can come in at $1200 or lower for a few months, I'm happy with the progress. Although, now I see where we are today and want to try to get it down to $1000 eventually.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Shor on January 30, 2017, 03:26:08 PM
Stocking up the fridge (for one) today!
Will have a list for you all soon! I love shopping day!
Note: this will go under the month of February's since there are some promotions that end on the 31st....
Also I'm hungry right now, when is work over? *sigh*
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: jesse_runs_far on January 30, 2017, 04:18:15 PM
I'd like to join too!

I track groceries from the 24th to the 23rd - I use my CC for everything, and that's our billing cycle. So for Dec 24-Jan 23, our bill was just under $900. For three people :(

I can do better!

I'm intrigued by the idea of making yogurt! I eat greek yogurt EVERY day for breakfast (with added frozen berries). I buy it at Costco, at about $10 for three tubs (650g). I think I will try the crock-pot method next weekend.


Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: tortoiseshell on January 31, 2017, 07:05:02 AM
January total food spending: $259.40

This is WELL under my goal of $350 (which I had never achieved before, somehow?) and under my stretch goal of $300 as well. The most amazing thing is that this includes a $61.00 anniversary dinner, so I'm going to try to aim for $200 every month going forward!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Guava on January 31, 2017, 08:46:14 AM
Grocery spending came in at $214. I was shooting for $200 but we bought some nice steaks and saved ourselves $40 at a restaurant and still have steak left over in the freezer. I would call that a win. But we still did go out to eat too much.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on January 31, 2017, 09:52:32 AM
Our total for the month, including groceries and eating out, looks like it will remain $1083. We have leftovers for lunch today and for dinner tonight, so I think we can avoid any additional food buying for the day. I am actually in shock. The same month last year was $1774 so I set this first month's goal at $1200. I can't believe we are going to do better than my first goal. I think we'll keep it at $1200 as the goal for February (we have a ski trip and need a Costco run) and then I'll see about reducing it in March. I am feeling very optimistic! It really hasn't been THAT hard, just a few changes that really added up. This place rocks.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: recklesslysober on January 31, 2017, 12:53:40 PM
Total this month was $173.46 which included a few treats but not as many as usual. Very happy with that! My average last year was almost $350/month!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on February 01, 2017, 05:54:25 AM
came in around 270 for the month including half a cow divided over 12 months.   and i think we did pretty bad.  My wife just got pregnant so her diet has changed so its been a learning curve for me buying things we hadnt bought in the past like milk and calcium rich OJ... plus some extra buys.  i think we will be under 220 in feb.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on February 01, 2017, 12:31:18 PM
It's so awesome to see everyone's success!

My total for January was $150.32! Right on target :) At the end of my pantry challenge month I still have some oddball things in the cupboards that I want to use up, but overall I feel like my stockpile has achieved reasonable levels and I am no longer at risk of Hoarders showing up on my doorstep (is that even still a show?)

There are a handful of things I'm out of or nearly out of that need to get replenished over the next few shopping trips - cornstarch (only a few Tbsps left), baking powder and baking soda (about half a container left of each), balsamic vinegar (all gone!). And I will pick up some lunch meat for hubby, who has been a very good sport but is likely quite sick of tuna at this point. I will of course find these items on sale or (more likely) wait until I make a trip to Grocery Outlet - a discount store that I don't shop at regularly, but consistently has these items for lower than average price. I've found that shopping around at different stores for different items or sticking to loss leaders has been one of the most effective methods of keeping my grocery costs down. I'm also ready to start re-stocking on meat again, and chicken breast is on sale for $1.49/lb! I am unreasonably excited about this :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on February 01, 2017, 02:44:16 PM
It's so awesome to see everyone's success!

My total for January was $150.32! Right on target :) At the end of my pantry challenge month I still have some oddball things in the cupboards that I want to use up, but overall I feel like my stockpile has achieved reasonable levels and I am no longer at risk of Hoarders showing up on my doorstep (is that even still a show?)

There are a handful of things I'm out of or nearly out of that need to get replenished over the next few shopping trips - cornstarch (only a few Tbsps left), baking powder and baking soda (about half a container left of each), balsamic vinegar (all gone!). And I will pick up some lunch meat for hubby, who has been a very good sport but is likely quite sick of tuna at this point. I will of course find these items on sale or (more likely) wait until I make a trip to Grocery Outlet - a discount store that I don't shop at regularly, but consistently has these items for lower than average price. I've found that shopping around at different stores for different items or sticking to loss leaders has been one of the most effective methods of keeping my grocery costs down. I'm also ready to start re-stocking on meat again, and chicken breast is on sale for $1.49/lb! I am unreasonably excited about this :)

Wow, that is extraordinary! I doubt we'll ever get down to a level of $75/mo per person! I'm really impressed. :)

We went to Costco at lunch today (splurged $4.29 to each have a slice of pizza before shopping...better than after shopping and we ate all our leftovers for dinner at home last night). I was excited to find the super cheap yeast for homemade bread. I will never buy individual packets again! Thank you so much to whoever suggested it here. It seems like we still spend a lot of money there (always), but we stocked up on a lot of things that were gone or almost gone at home, and there were a lot of things that we used to buy but didn't this time because we make them from scratch now (bread, salsa, hummus). The only splurge was the cold brew coffee concentrate. Yes, it is still $0.50 a serving, so not frugal. Definitely cheaper than being tempted to get an occasional iced coffee out. I will try to limit this particular purchase, but I'm feeling pretty good about it being my only impulse buy. It was the first time they've stocked it since before Christmas and I couldn't resist. I will try harder to resist next time.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on February 02, 2017, 12:24:00 PM
My total for January was a disappointing $1266 for five people, but my excuses were:
- Dec 2016 expenses were only $521, as we ate down a lot of our pantry and freezer and restocked in Jan
- refrigerator broke down twice, causing some spoilage
- Jan included a massive Costco run of $300, including things like laundry detergent, etc.
- I precooked 13 dinners (91 servings) and froze them down

The only thing I could possibly regret was a trip to H-Mart, where we spent $225, a lot of this on desserts and prepared foods.  We need to be careful when we go there, though we are suckers for the steamed BBQ pork buns!

Feb's goal is to spend $150 or less per week. I think this should be entirely doable since we'll be eating down the pantry, so purchases will be limited to fresh fruit and vegetables, with the occasional exception for a great sale.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: ringer707 on February 02, 2017, 12:39:17 PM
Going to join in, but modify mine some to rein in my restaurant eating. We're not the worst about it, but we could do a lot better. We usually order Chinese once a month and maybe grab a pizza too. Our biggest problem though is that we often go out to run errands on Saturdays and pick up Chick Fil A for lunch. We're pretty good about not eating out during the week, but those Friday night take-out dinners and Saturday lunches have to be pared down. I usually do lunch out with coworkers once a month and am going to say no to that this month. Something else I've noticed in keeping track of our budget is that DH is having a tendency to hit up his work cafeteria. It definitely isn't a daily habit, but it does add up. I'm going to see what the total was for last month and see if he can cut back some. I will say that the cafeteria is extremely cheap though. His work subsidizes the cost for them so he can usually get a decently-sized hot meal for about $4, and he rarely even spends that much.

We're pretty good on grocery shopping. I coupon and sale shop at Kroger. I've overwhelmingly found them to be the best on prices, even with Aldi in our area now. Everything I find at Aldi I can buy for the same price or cheaper with coupons at Kroger. Costco remains the best at produce prices though, so we usually get a lot of produce there.

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: afuera on February 02, 2017, 01:05:34 PM
Joining in!  We wayyyy overspent in January ($555.94 for only 2 people!) and I can't even figure out how.  I've started a price book and we made our first trip to the new Aldi's near us last week so hopefully this thread will help keep us accountable.
One struggle I foresee us having this year is crawfish season.  My husband just bought a crawfish pot/burner/set-up so that we could have boils at home instead of going out to eat it at restaurants (which will theoretically be much cheaper) but we might buy too much too often so we will have to try and stay on top on it.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: rpr on February 02, 2017, 03:30:33 PM
January was a little higher than average. Will try harder in Feb. the extra 3 days should help ;)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on February 02, 2017, 04:22:43 PM
Oh man, I need this thread. We spent $729 last month! For 2 people! Dec was around $450. We do have a lot of food in the house right now--a Costco pork loin and 2 whole chickens, some canned and dry goods we stocked up on, a bunch of cheese, and stuff like that (we grocery shop on the weekends, so we did a trip right before the end of the month). But still.

I'm honestly not even quite sure where to start. We're going to start splitting alcohol out from groceries so we can track that separately. I was hoping we could spend around $400 on just food if we were a little careful, but apparently even that's optimistic at this point. I'm going to try to work through all the stuff we have on hand and also work on getting into a routine with what we eat and buy so we can start addressing 1 leak at a time.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Tuskalusa on February 02, 2017, 04:57:05 PM
I'm in. We attacked food shopping a bit in 2016, and I think we can do better in 2017. January was about $550 in groceries for 3 people. I'd like to consistently get guise down to $500 or less. I think we can do this by shopping once a week and using cheaper stores. We cook a lot of our own food, but I could do a better job optimizing, for sure!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Shor on February 02, 2017, 06:16:04 PM
Here's my haul, remind me not to shop hungry....
Spinach 3 lbs $4
Broccoli 3 lbs $4
Tortillas $3
Ground Turkey 6 lbs for $12
dozen eggs .89

That will easily last about 2-3 weeks....
actually... I still have 3 lbs of ground turkey in the freezer from 2 weeks ago.. Oh.. >.<
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on February 02, 2017, 07:52:09 PM
We failed our goal. We were on track to *just* make it but rescheduled a dinner with friends forward so what would have been in the Feb budget was in the Jan one and we went over.

The break down for Jan:
$350 on groceries (fresh markets & supermarket)
$250 on lunches during the week (buying lunches instead of taking food from home)
$450 dining out (includes food and drinks out and coffee)
$80 alcohol (im not drinking at the moment due to pregnancy)

Total: $1130

It is obvious where improvements can be made. I don't think I need to comment further.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: ringer707 on February 03, 2017, 11:29:26 AM
Said no to going out to lunch with coworkers today and ate my sandwich, chips, and applesauce instead. One of my local grocery stores is closing the store nearest my house tomorrow and it sounds like they have quite a few items on sale to clear the shelves out, so I'm going to stop there on the way home from work. I think they're transferring a lot of the shelf-stable items to other stores, but hopefully I can get some produce and meat if there's anything left.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: WGH on February 03, 2017, 12:48:00 PM
I'm in! Family of three we were at $800 a month last month. Goal is $500 this month with the main culprits being eating out on the weekends, Subway runs once a week at work and stopping for breakfast burritos twice a week on the way to work. Cutting down to eating out once a week and no more lunches/burritos saves $300 a month!

Kudos to those of you who make so many yummy recipes and cook and freeze in bulk wish I had the motivation but I will strive to get there!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on February 05, 2017, 03:47:10 AM
We are not tracking feb expenses closely because the baby is due this month and between our record keeping going out the window when the baby arrives and wanting to give myself a bit of space while I'm enormous and exhausted, I think it is the best mental health choice.

No goals this month as a result but we did have a great weekend cooking up freezer meals to help us avoid overspending on take away when baby arrives. Made 6L of bolognese sauce today which should keep up in meat meals for a few months. I also have a big piece of pork shoulder that we will slow cook and portion.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: LindseyC on February 05, 2017, 05:07:12 AM
I would like to join this one as well (a little late). I track my groceries with my CC cycle which ends on the 23rd. I would like to average $200 a month for groceries, $50 for eating out and $30 for every other consumable (toiletries, kitchen, cleaning, pet supplies) some months I expect to be more because of stocking up/sales, other months a little lower. January for me was ridiculous I ate out too much because of a weekend wedding and my groceries (despite trying to eat down my pantry) were very high.

February so far I am doing better (it starts on the 24th for me) I have not eaten out, not even a tea, since the 22nd of January. I have turned down some social opportunities to avoid eating out but tried to make up for them with some other non food related social gatherings.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on February 05, 2017, 06:25:32 AM
I'm a month late, as I started my groceries journey on the Frugal January thread, but I'm posting to follow! My first goal is $200/m eating out and $700/m groceries, but by the end of the year I'd like it to be $600/m groceries and $150/m eating out, including any additional items we add to our grocery list due to our first baby due in April/May.

I'll update with our starting numbers once I have a computer :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: gaja on February 05, 2017, 07:54:52 AM
This is easily my biggest area for improvement...we have a LONG way to go actually on the grocery spending. Here are our stats: family of 5 with 2 adults, 16 year old boy who plays sports (who eats more than the rest of us combined), 7 year old boy, 5 year old girl. I've made strides since beginning tracking in 2015, but we have a long way to go. My target right now, for grocery and eating out combined, is a ghastly $1200 per month. I know this sounds like a lot, and it IS a lot, but we frequently have a hoard of teenage boys in our house eating food with reckless abandon. It's worth it to me to pay for the food and know where the teenagers are and what they're doing!

We have already made some improvements in this arena:
2015 our food spending was $2126.95 per month, yes, this is wretchedly obscene; I seriously considered not even posting this here because it is SO horrendous
2016 our food spending was $1774.69 per month. Still horrendous, but down an average of  $352.26 per month compared to 2015

For 2017, my target is $1200 per month. As of today, the 19th, we are currently sitting at $776.15 spent for the month, which has us on track to spend $1266 this month at our current pace.

Please be kind...I am certainly getting some push back from the husband and teenager on trying to get our food spending under control. We both have 6 figure salaries so it's hard to convince my husband that this is something we need to reign in. It is our easiest place to cut the fat though, so I'm determined to get these numbers down.

To make you feel less bad, I'll post our numbers:
Two adults, two children aged 9 and 10, one cat. Average spending/month on groceries in 2016, including household staples and alcohol: 20 000 NOK (~2600 USD)! Some eating out, a lot of stockpiling, but the wastage was enormous.

In January, we tried to stay out of the grocery stores as much as possible. Without any noticable effect on our menu, we reduced our spending to $1026. ~$350 of that was at the end of the month, to fill up the fridge for February. So far in February, we've spent $130, mainly on stuff we didn't need. But seeing the results from January has really gotten DH on board. He has vetoed take out twice this month, and appriciates not spending time going to the grocery stores every day.

Our goal now is to stabilize the spending at ~$1000. This covers our ordinary diet. We could probably tweak things and get it lower, but usually when I try too many new things, our spending increases.

Part of the story is of course that food costs in the far north are very high. Meat is rarely less than $25/kg, chicken doesn't go below $10/kg, and a liter of milk is normally $2. Vegetables and fruits are very expensive. Living close to the Swedish border, we can get slightly better prices, but nothing like the examples I've seen from the US. Growing up, my father used to go fishing in the sea, and we usually ate fish and seafood at least 5 times a week. Hunting is also a common way to stretch the budget. Gardening is a challenge, but we do have a few apple trees, and rhubarb and potatoes will grow anywhere.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on February 05, 2017, 04:46:12 PM
I'm a month late, as I started my groceries journey on the Frugal January thread, but I'm posting to follow! My first goal is $200/m eating out and $700/m groceries, but by the end of the year I'd like it to be $600/m groceries and $150/m eating out, including any additional items we add to our grocery list due to our first baby due in April/May.

I'll update with our starting numbers once I have a computer :)
OK so our starting numbers are:
January
Eating out: $275
Groceries:  $890 (5 grocery weekends)
Total:       $1165

Goal #1:  $900/m total

The first strategies we're trying are to have almost the same lunch every day plus small variations, and to pick 2 simple-to-cook meals for during the week. I've signed up for PlanToEat, but I haven't made time to really play with what it can do, so we're meal planning with pen and paper for now.

As it's summer, the menu is salad + a protein for lunch, snacks are chopped fruit and a baked item (muffin, hot cross bun with cream cheese, etc), and a dairy item (yogurt or cream cheese).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on February 05, 2017, 07:58:49 PM
So far so good. We're spent $53 so far this month, and about $15 of that was me buying stupid snacks and a lunch at work due to poor planning. We have just about everything we need for the week.

Changes we've made include:

Buying popcorn kernels to make popcorn for snacks
Buying/making snacks to take to work, and packing oatmeal so I have backup meals at work
Substituting half of the chicken in tonight's dinner with beans. It was really good! Going to try to do this more often.
Switching from Trader Joe's coffee ($12/lb!!!) to Costco coffee ($5/lb)
Roasting the last half of a bag of potatoes before they turned enough to have to throw them away.

Coming up, I'm going to start making yogurt again, and generally just trying to buy as little as possible and eat what we have on hand. Also planning to get on a meal rotation and start figuring out which meals give us the most bang for our buck. Looking forward to getting our costs under control.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on February 05, 2017, 08:36:58 PM
Growing up, my father used to go fishing in the sea, and we usually ate fish and seafood at least 5 times a week.

That was a nice thing about our trip to Norway... fish and seafood are much more affordable than they are in the US!  A hamburger in Bergen cost us something horrid (I have blocked the prices we paid for food out of my mind), but seafood was inexpensive, fresh, and delicious.

I just came back from my weekly grocery trip... $132.  That is at least under my target of $150, but I could have done better. Husband begged me to get him Diet Coke, which I disapprove of, but for him I got $4.50 worth (five 2-gallon bottles). I also got about $10 worth of sweets and processed food which I shouldn't have bought. Next week: no sweets, even if they are on sale! And no soda!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Guava on February 06, 2017, 10:08:35 AM
Target for this month is still $200 for all groceries and household items. I will need to make a trip to Sam's Club to do some stocking up so I a trying to be very mindful of my other trips.

My big name store is having a 10 for $10 and get the 11th free sale this week so I have been trying to plan things to buy to stock up in at the low prices. So far I am getting: macaroni and cheese, pasta, Cliff bars, and some frozen dinners hubby can eat while I am away.  Also on the list, lotso of produce and vegetables for the week.  Targeting  $50 this trip so I will have $50 to spend at Sam's Club next week.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on February 06, 2017, 10:35:05 AM
Thanks Gaja for joining in! It looks like you've made really great progress this year so far too. Having the accountability in this group has helped me a lot, and having my husband see our results from last month really helped to get in on board.

We did buy some groceries over the weekend and went to Costco last week so our month has started out a little high, but as long as we eat the stuff we bought and manage to keep from going out this week we should stabilize pretty well. We did get take-out for the whole family from our favorite pizza place Thursday, and it actually felt like a "treat" since we've managed to cut back so much on eating out. I don't mind occasional eating out in our routine as long as I stay under our total monthly target.

My husband made homemade salsa and hummus again this weekend and we are never buying ready-made again for either one. It sure didn't take him long to master those recipes!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: afuera on February 06, 2017, 12:29:10 PM
We have made two trips so far this month.  The first was for a backyard crawfish boil + beer which came out to $53.99 (Fiesta).  The second trip was to pick up a few items to make pepperoni twists for a Super Bowl party and some basics for the pantry which was $22.91 (Aldi). 
We are starting to fill in our price book and getting idea about what is a good price for an item and which stores carry certain items cheaper on a regular basis. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on February 07, 2017, 12:34:21 AM
Last night, on my credit card bill (that I am paying in time of course), I found the first ever cash back I ever got on buying groceries. This is only from the credit card. I just logged in into the shop's website and I am getting money back there as well! Almost 50% more than from the credit card company. Jay!!!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: westtoeast on February 07, 2017, 03:18:50 PM
I am feeling a little discouraged this week. To cover a full week (7 days, 2 meals a day) I end up spending a bit over $50 every time! I am going to post my meals & costs here in case anyone is feeling willing to school me! (side note: I cannot have gluten or eggs)

Sweet Potato Corn Cakes (2 meals)
Tuna & Baked Potato (1 meal)
Spaghetti, Veggie Sauce (homemade) & Ground Chicken (5 meals)
Spinach Potato Soup (4 meals)
Lentil Veggie Burgers (2 meals X 2 ppl)

Shopping: Cornmeal, $7; Sweet Potatoes, $2; Tuna, $2, Potatoes, $4; Sauce Veggies, $6; Ground Chicken, $4; Lentils, $4; Spinach, $4; Onion, $1; Carrots, $2; Stock, $2; GF Pasta (2 bags), $6; Goat Cheese, $4; GF Bagels, $4 = $52

Most items are from Trader Joe. Cornmeal is GF so it is pricier, but I will not use it all up this week. I know I could do GF bagels a little cheaper, if I learned to bake GF bread (on my to-do list). Is there anything else here that seems crazy? I would really like to be hitting closer to $40 each week. Does this seem like an extravagant meal plan? Maybe this is as good as I can do in a HCOL area.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on February 07, 2017, 03:25:59 PM
I am feeling a little discouraged this week. To cover a full week (7 days, 2 meals a day) I end up spending a bit over $50 every time! I am going to post my meals & costs here in case anyone is feeling willing to school me! (side note: I cannot have gluten or eggs)

Sweet Potato Corn Cakes (2 meals)
Tuna & Baked Potato (1 meal)
Spaghetti, Veggie Sauce (homemade) & Ground Chicken (5 meals)
Spinach Potato Soup (4 meals)
Lentil Veggie Burgers (2 meals X 2 ppl)

Shopping: Cornmeal, $7; Sweet Potatoes, $2; Tuna, $2, Potatoes, $4; Sauce Veggies, $6; Ground Chicken, $4; Lentils, $4; Spinach, $4; Onion, $1; Carrots, $2; Stock, $2; GF Pasta (2 bags), $6; Goat Cheese, $4; GF Bagels, $4 = $52

Most items are from Trader Joe. Cornmeal is GF so it is pricier, but I will not use it all up this week. I know I could do GF bagels a little cheaper, if I learned to bake GF bread (on my to-do list). Is there anything else here that seems crazy? I would really like to be hitting closer to $40 each week. Does this seem like an extravagant meal plan? Maybe this is as good as I can do in a HCOL area.

why buy the GF stuff at all why not focus on recipes and ingredients that dont involve any of that at all.  GF is a fad so it is getting cheaper to find stuff like GF pasta but why not skip pasta and bagels all together.  they arent necessary IMO.  you also have no quanities next to anything here. 

make your meal plans around what is on sale not based on what you want to eat. 3 weeks ago 3lbs of sweet potatoes at aldi were 99c ... a month ago 5lbs of red potatoes were 99c.  ground chicken for 4 dollars i'm guess for a lb is crazy high ... buy chicken for 1.49 a lb and dice or grind yourself.  aldi goat cheese is 1.99, i'm hoping that onion isnt one onion.  aldi regularly has 3lbs of onions for 99c. etc. i'm sure you see where all this is going.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on February 07, 2017, 03:38:19 PM
I am feeling a little discouraged this week. To cover a full week (7 days, 2 meals a day) I end up spending a bit over $50 every time! I am going to post my meals & costs here in case anyone is feeling willing to school me! (side note: I cannot have gluten or eggs)

Sweet Potato Corn Cakes (2 meals)
Tuna & Baked Potato (1 meal)
Spaghetti, Veggie Sauce (homemade) & Ground Chicken (5 meals)
Spinach Potato Soup (4 meals)
Lentil Veggie Burgers (2 meals X 2 ppl)

Shopping: Cornmeal, $7; Sweet Potatoes, $2; Tuna, $2, Potatoes, $4; Sauce Veggies, $6; Ground Chicken, $4; Lentils, $4; Spinach, $4; Onion, $1; Carrots, $2; Stock, $2; GF Pasta (2 bags), $6; Goat Cheese, $4; GF Bagels, $4 = $52

Most items are from Trader Joe. Cornmeal is GF so it is pricier, but I will not use it all up this week. I know I could do GF bagels a little cheaper, if I learned to bake GF bread (on my to-do list). Is there anything else here that seems crazy? I would really like to be hitting closer to $40 each week. Does this seem like an extravagant meal plan? Maybe this is as good as I can do in a HCOL area.

westtoeast, I wouldn't say that the meal plan seems extravagant, but some of the prices seem a bit high. 

I'm in Canada, so things may be different, but I shop at Walmart, buying what's on sale and price match price match price match!  So, for example, couple of weeks ago I got a 10 pound bag of onions for something like $1.28 (Cdn - even less in U.S. dollars!)  Sweet potatoes the same week were on sale somewhere for 38 cents a pound.  And a 900 gram bag of lentils, according to the Walmart Canada website, costs $2.57 or something like that (I closed the browser window already, or I'd double-check). 

Honestly, the price matching, I think, makes more difference than just shopping sales or any couponing I do, because almost everything I would want to buy each week is on sale somewhere.  I can always find one of my two favourite brands of bread on sale, and someone almost always has a bag of 5-6 avocados for a decent price, or one of several kinds of cereal that I like, etc. 

Walmart happens to be the most convenient store for me (it's on my way home from work) but I would probably shop there or another place that price matches, even if I had to go a little out of the way.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: westtoeast on February 08, 2017, 04:28:06 AM
why buy the GF stuff at all why not focus on recipes and ingredients that dont involve any of that at all.  GF is a fad so it is getting cheaper to find stuff like GF pasta but why not skip pasta and bagels all together.  they arent necessary IMO.  you also have no quanities next to anything here. 

make your meal plans around what is on sale not based on what you want to eat. 3 weeks ago 3lbs of sweet potatoes at aldi were 99c ... a month ago 5lbs of red potatoes were 99c.  ground chicken for 4 dollars i'm guess for a lb is crazy high ... buy chicken for 1.49 a lb and dice or grind yourself.  aldi goat cheese is 1.99, i'm hoping that onion isnt one onion.  aldi regularly has 3lbs of onions for 99c. etc. i'm sure you see where all this is going.


Thank you! The reason for the GF bagels are I was planning to make veggie burgers, which are a little depressing without a bun. They are not an "every week" type purchase. I do totally agree with you thought... they are expensive and unhealthy. The GF pasta is made of quinoa and brown rice, and is 2.99 per pack. I think that is very cheap, but I have probably lost perspective on cheap pasta since my diagnosis. I will definitely try your meal planning tip... I've downloaded the apps for the stores I frequent so I can see the sales in advance. And haha, I definitely forgot to put amounts! Oops!

I'm in Canada, so things may be different, but I shop at Walmart, buying what's on sale and price match price match price match!  So, for example, couple of weeks ago I got a 10 pound bag of onions for something like $1.28 (Cdn - even less in U.S. dollars!)  Sweet potatoes the same week were on sale somewhere for 38 cents a pound.  And a 900 gram bag of lentils, according to the Walmart Canada website, costs $2.57 or something like that (I closed the browser window already, or I'd double-check). 

Thank you-- I don't really price match right now. I was able to type some excuse about not having a vehicle so I just go where is nearby... but that is complainypants because I bet many of you walk or ride your bikes to various grocery stores! Seems like the problem lies not in the types of meals I cook, but in my grocery store strategy. Price matching and sales watching here I come! Thanks again for the advice :)

Also my apologies for the formatting, I tried and failed to quote both folks in the same post.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on February 08, 2017, 10:07:15 AM
why buy the GF stuff at all why not focus on recipes and ingredients that dont involve any of that at all.  GF is a fad so it is getting cheaper to find stuff like GF pasta but why not skip pasta and bagels all together.  they arent necessary IMO.  you also have no quanities next to anything here. 

make your meal plans around what is on sale not based on what you want to eat. 3 weeks ago 3lbs of sweet potatoes at aldi were 99c ... a month ago 5lbs of red potatoes were 99c.  ground chicken for 4 dollars i'm guess for a lb is crazy high ... buy chicken for 1.49 a lb and dice or grind yourself.  aldi goat cheese is 1.99, i'm hoping that onion isnt one onion.  aldi regularly has 3lbs of onions for 99c. etc. i'm sure you see where all this is going.


Thank you! The reason for the GF bagels are I was planning to make veggie burgers, which are a little depressing without a bun. They are not an "every week" type purchase. I do totally agree with you thought... they are expensive and unhealthy. The GF pasta is made of quinoa and brown rice, and is 2.99 per pack. I think that is very cheap, but I have probably lost perspective on cheap pasta since my diagnosis. I will definitely try your meal planning tip... I've downloaded the apps for the stores I frequent so I can see the sales in advance. And haha, I definitely forgot to put amounts! Oops!

I'm in Canada, so things may be different, but I shop at Walmart, buying what's on sale and price match price match price match!  So, for example, couple of weeks ago I got a 10 pound bag of onions for something like $1.28 (Cdn - even less in U.S. dollars!)  Sweet potatoes the same week were on sale somewhere for 38 cents a pound.  And a 900 gram bag of lentils, according to the Walmart Canada website, costs $2.57 or something like that (I closed the browser window already, or I'd double-check). 

Thank you-- I don't really price match right now. I was able to type some excuse about not having a vehicle so I just go where is nearby... but that is complainypants because I bet many of you walk or ride your bikes to various grocery stores! Seems like the problem lies not in the types of meals I cook, but in my grocery store strategy. Price matching and sales watching here I come! Thanks again for the advice :)

Also my apologies for the formatting, I tried and failed to quote both folks in the same post.

To quote, instead of hitting reply, just hit the quote button on the post you want to quote.  That will create a new reply for you.  Then, just make sure you're outside of the quote brackets to type what you want to say. 

To add another quote in the same reply, first make sure the cursor is in the place you want to put the quote in your reply.  Then scroll to the post you want to quote, and hit the place where it says "insert quote."

But no worries, we could follow you...

Just wanted to say that the beauty of price matching, if you have a store that offers it as an option, is that you don't have to truck around to different locations.  You just show them the ad(s) from the other stores, and they ring the item up at that price.  I price match almost everything when I shop, because I basically won't buy it if it's not on sale.  You just have to figure out which if any of the stores in reasonable travel distance to you offer price matching.

(And shhh!  Don't tell anyone, but I absolutely do not ride my bike to the grocery store!  I do at least drive past it on my way home.  Though that could get me in trouble around here because I'm not supposed to be driving on a commute as short as mine!  But I work some crazy hours and am in and out, sometimes in a hurry.)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on February 08, 2017, 12:53:53 PM
My total for January was $150.32!

Wow, that is extraordinary! I doubt we'll ever get down to a level of $75/mo per person! I'm really impressed. :)

Well that was only for January because we were doing a pantry challenge, I would be hard-pressed to keep that up long term. Going forward I'll be aiming for $250 per month.

Last weekend's shopping (I'm a little late posting my weekly update) was just under $100. I was expecting it to be on the high side since I was restocking some things that we were low on after the pantry challenge month, and there were also a couple of splurges just because I hadn't been buying any treats for a whole month. Overall I'm fairly comfortable with that number, but will be trying to keep it down to around $50 per week for the rest of the month to stay on target.

But I stocked up on chicken breast while it was super low (1.49/lb) - I put a bunch in the crockpot and made 7 tubs of shredded chicken to have on hand for quick and easy meals, and repackaged/froze the rest. I also stocked up on broccoli (my favorite veggie) - on sale for .89/lb - bought several pounds, then blanched and froze it. Then I got this weeks' grocery ads and see its on sale for .79/lb. Annoying. This week ground turkey is on sale for 1.97/lb so I know what I'll be doing this weekend :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: afuera on February 08, 2017, 01:09:27 PM
How much chicken is too much chicken?  The Foodarama Fiesta on my street has chicken breast on sale for $0.97/lb and our Aldi has chicken thighs for $0.69/lb.  Do I buy as much as I can fit in the freezer?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on February 08, 2017, 01:12:06 PM
How much chicken is too much chicken?  The Foodarama on my street has chicken breast on sale for $0.97/lb and our Aldi has chicken thighs for $0.69/lb.  Do I buy as much as I can fit in the freezer?

aldi is bone in chicken thighs 69c is not a stock up price. they get as low as 29c
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: afuera on February 08, 2017, 01:17:15 PM
How much chicken is too much chicken?  The Foodarama on my street has chicken breast on sale for $0.97/lb and our Aldi has chicken thighs for $0.69/lb.  Do I buy as much as I can fit in the freezer?

aldi is bone in chicken thighs 69c is not a stock up price. they get as low as 29c
Good to know, thanks!  I guess I'll just get the breasts.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on February 08, 2017, 01:22:43 PM
How much chicken is too much chicken?  The Foodarama on my street has chicken breast on sale for $0.97/lb and our Aldi has chicken thighs for $0.69/lb.  Do I buy as much as I can fit in the freezer?

aldi is bone in chicken thighs 69c is not a stock up price. they get as low as 29c
Good to know, thanks!  I guess I'll just get the breasts.

69c is a good deal to eat today for fresh.  just not a stock up level.  97c for breasts is stock up level. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on February 08, 2017, 02:10:20 PM
How much chicken is too much chicken?  The Foodarama Fiesta on my street has chicken breast on sale for $0.97/lb and our Aldi has chicken thighs for $0.69/lb.  Do I buy as much as I can fit in the freezer?

Are these prices for boneless or bone-in meat? In my area, those would be amazing prices for boneless, but for bone-in those are pretty common sale prices which repeat every 6 - 8 weeks or so. So, if bone-in I'd buy myself enough to last a month or two knowing I'd see that price again before long. If boneless I'd buy as much as physically possible. This is where making a grocery price book can be very useful.

aldi is bone in chicken thighs 69c is not a stock up price. they get as low as 29c
Holy crap I want to live near your Aldi :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: afuera on February 08, 2017, 02:30:10 PM
How much chicken is too much chicken?  The Foodarama Fiesta on my street has chicken breast on sale for $0.97/lb and our Aldi has chicken thighs for $0.69/lb.  Do I buy as much as I can fit in the freezer?

Are these prices for boneless or bone-in meat? In my area, those would be amazing prices for boneless, but for bone-in those are pretty common sale prices which repeat every 6 - 8 weeks or so. So, if bone-in I'd buy myself enough to last a month or two knowing I'd see that price again before long. If boneless I'd buy as much as physically possible. This is where making a grocery price book can be very useful.

Boneless :)  Funny thing is I wouldn't have even recognized it as a good price a few weeks ago...
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on February 08, 2017, 03:05:27 PM
Boneless :)  Funny thing is I wouldn't have even recognized it as a good price a few weeks ago...

Wow, I vote fill the freezer!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: westtoeast on February 08, 2017, 04:45:17 PM
why buy the GF stuff at all why not focus on recipes and ingredients that dont involve any of that at all.  GF is a fad so it is getting cheaper to find stuff like GF pasta but why not skip pasta and bagels all together.  they arent necessary IMO.  you also have no quanities next to anything here. 

make your meal plans around what is on sale not based on what you want to eat. 3 weeks ago 3lbs of sweet potatoes at aldi were 99c ... a month ago 5lbs of red potatoes were 99c.  ground chicken for 4 dollars i'm guess for a lb is crazy high ... buy chicken for 1.49 a lb and dice or grind yourself.  aldi goat cheese is 1.99, i'm hoping that onion isnt one onion.  aldi regularly has 3lbs of onions for 99c. etc. i'm sure you see where all this is going.


Thank you! The reason for the GF bagels are I was planning to make veggie burgers, which are a little depressing without a bun. They are not an "every week" type purchase. I do totally agree with you thought... they are expensive and unhealthy. The GF pasta is made of quinoa and brown rice, and is 2.99 per pack. I think that is very cheap, but I have probably lost perspective on cheap pasta since my diagnosis. I will definitely try your meal planning tip... I've downloaded the apps for the stores I frequent so I can see the sales in advance. And haha, I definitely forgot to put amounts! Oops!

I'm in Canada, so things may be different, but I shop at Walmart, buying what's on sale and price match price match price match!  So, for example, couple of weeks ago I got a 10 pound bag of onions for something like $1.28 (Cdn - even less in U.S. dollars!)  Sweet potatoes the same week were on sale somewhere for 38 cents a pound.  And a 900 gram bag of lentils, according to the Walmart Canada website, costs $2.57 or something like that (I closed the browser window already, or I'd double-check). 

Thank you-- I don't really price match right now. I was able to type some excuse about not having a vehicle so I just go where is nearby... but that is complainypants because I bet many of you walk or ride your bikes to various grocery stores! Seems like the problem lies not in the types of meals I cook, but in my grocery store strategy. Price matching and sales watching here I come! Thanks again for the advice :)

Also my apologies for the formatting, I tried and failed to quote both folks in the same post.

To quote, instead of hitting reply, just hit the quote button on the post you want to quote.  That will create a new reply for you.  Then, just make sure you're outside of the quote brackets to type what you want to say. 

To add another quote in the same reply, first make sure the cursor is in the place you want to put the quote in your reply.  Then scroll to the post you want to quote, and hit the place where it says "insert quote."

But no worries, we could follow you...

Just wanted to say that the beauty of price matching, if you have a store that offers it as an option, is that you don't have to truck around to different locations.  You just show them the ad(s) from the other stores, and they ring the item up at that price.  I price match almost everything when I shop, because I basically won't buy it if it's not on sale.  You just have to figure out which if any of the stores in reasonable travel distance to you offer price matching.

(And shhh!  Don't tell anyone, but I absolutely do not ride my bike to the grocery store!  I do at least drive past it on my way home.  Though that could get me in trouble around here because I'm not supposed to be driving on a commute as short as mine!  But I work some crazy hours and am in and out, sometimes in a hurry.)

Glad to hear we share the same grocery secret! Also I totally misunderstood price matching. I thought it was when you figure out how much everything costs at each store and GO to all of those stores. Now I understand, and the real deal is much easier. Thanks for clarifying!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: recklesslysober on February 08, 2017, 05:12:54 PM
Total this month was $173.46 which included a few treats but not as many as usual. Very happy with that! My average last year was almost $350/month!

I'm already at $149.47 this month.. some of that was meat (we went through the freezer last month), and snacks for my birthday party. Much less expensive than us going out to eat though! I think everyone appreciated that.

I did stock up on vegetables and fruit at Costco too so I shouldn't need much this week.

I think I can keep my average for the year under $200.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on February 08, 2017, 07:10:15 PM
why buy the GF stuff at all why not focus on recipes and ingredients that dont involve any of that at all.  GF is a fad so it is getting cheaper to find stuff like GF pasta but why not skip pasta and bagels all together.  they arent necessary IMO.  you also have no quanities next to anything here. 

make your meal plans around what is on sale not based on what you want to eat. 3 weeks ago 3lbs of sweet potatoes at aldi were 99c ... a month ago 5lbs of red potatoes were 99c.  ground chicken for 4 dollars i'm guess for a lb is crazy high ... buy chicken for 1.49 a lb and dice or grind yourself.  aldi goat cheese is 1.99, i'm hoping that onion isnt one onion.  aldi regularly has 3lbs of onions for 99c. etc. i'm sure you see where all this is going.


Thank you! The reason for the GF bagels are I was planning to make veggie burgers, which are a little depressing without a bun. They are not an "every week" type purchase. I do totally agree with you thought... they are expensive and unhealthy. The GF pasta is made of quinoa and brown rice, and is 2.99 per pack. I think that is very cheap, but I have probably lost perspective on cheap pasta since my diagnosis. I will definitely try your meal planning tip... I've downloaded the apps for the stores I frequent so I can see the sales in advance. And haha, I definitely forgot to put amounts! Oops!

I'm in Canada, so things may be different, but I shop at Walmart, buying what's on sale and price match price match price match!  So, for example, couple of weeks ago I got a 10 pound bag of onions for something like $1.28 (Cdn - even less in U.S. dollars!)  Sweet potatoes the same week were on sale somewhere for 38 cents a pound.  And a 900 gram bag of lentils, according to the Walmart Canada website, costs $2.57 or something like that (I closed the browser window already, or I'd double-check). 

Thank you-- I don't really price match right now. I was able to type some excuse about not having a vehicle so I just go where is nearby... but that is complainypants because I bet many of you walk or ride your bikes to various grocery stores! Seems like the problem lies not in the types of meals I cook, but in my grocery store strategy. Price matching and sales watching here I come! Thanks again for the advice :)

Also my apologies for the formatting, I tried and failed to quote both folks in the same post.

To quote, instead of hitting reply, just hit the quote button on the post you want to quote.  That will create a new reply for you.  Then, just make sure you're outside of the quote brackets to type what you want to say. 

To add another quote in the same reply, first make sure the cursor is in the place you want to put the quote in your reply.  Then scroll to the post you want to quote, and hit the place where it says "insert quote."

But no worries, we could follow you...

Just wanted to say that the beauty of price matching, if you have a store that offers it as an option, is that you don't have to truck around to different locations.  You just show them the ad(s) from the other stores, and they ring the item up at that price.  I price match almost everything when I shop, because I basically won't buy it if it's not on sale.  You just have to figure out which if any of the stores in reasonable travel distance to you offer price matching.

(And shhh!  Don't tell anyone, but I absolutely do not ride my bike to the grocery store!  I do at least drive past it on my way home.  Though that could get me in trouble around here because I'm not supposed to be driving on a commute as short as mine!  But I work some crazy hours and am in and out, sometimes in a hurry.)

Glad to hear we share the same grocery secret! Also I totally misunderstood price matching. I thought it was when you figure out how much everything costs at each store and GO to all of those stores. Now I understand, and the real deal is much easier. Thanks for clarifying!

Yay!  You got the quoting figured out! 

And I thought you *might* have misunderstood price matching, but I wasn't sure.  Yeah, it is a whole lot easier than driving around, though there are times that the store you shop at doesn't carry a particular brand or size of item, but if you keep your shopping list a little bit flexible to account for those times, then you can still save a lot of money and get most of what you want.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on February 08, 2017, 08:01:47 PM
I'm a month late, as I started my groceries journey on the Frugal January thread, but I'm posting to follow! My first goal is $200/m eating out and $700/m groceries, but by the end of the year I'd like it to be $600/m groceries and $150/m eating out, including any additional items we add to our grocery list due to our first baby due in April/May.

I'll update with our starting numbers once I have a computer :)
OK so our starting numbers are:
January
Eating out: $275
Groceries:  $890 (5 grocery weekends)
Total:       $1165

Goal #1:  $900/m total

The first strategies we're trying are to have almost the same lunch every day plus small variations, and to pick 2 simple-to-cook meals for during the week. I've signed up for PlanToEat, but I haven't made time to really play with what it can do, so we're meal planning with pen and paper for now.

As it's summer, the menu is salad + a protein for lunch, snacks are chopped fruit and a baked item (muffin, hot cross bun with cream cheese, etc), and a dairy item (yogurt or cream cheese).
I think we're going to get through this week without a mid-week shop. I pulled some lasagne out of the freezer to defrost in the fridge over the day, and I'll check tonight for something for tomorrow night's dinner.

We didn't buy enough snack food (yoghurts and fresh fruit), so I made cake. Yum!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on February 08, 2017, 08:11:13 PM
I think we're going to get through this week without a mid-week shop. I pulled some lasagne out of the freezer to defrost in the fridge over the day, and I'll check tonight for something for tomorrow night's dinner.

We didn't buy enough snack food (yoghurts and fresh fruit), so I made cake. Yum!

I usually do my main shop in the middle of the week, and as I posted in another thread, I sat down tonight and did all my flyer review, figuring out what I was going to buy - then decided that I really didn't need to leave the house to go and grocery shop, as I still have plenty of food for at least the next few days.  I may need to pop into the store briefly on the week to pick up a couple of fruits and veg (less than $5 worth, really, just a couple of things to tide me over).  But otherwise should be just fine until this time next week.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on February 09, 2017, 07:44:09 AM
Our total for the first week of Feb was $74. I think I've addressed a few issues that bumped that number up (primarily snacks and work food). Really working on just buying what we need, but I'll probably hit Costco sometime next week for a few things.

Any ideas for non-grain foods to bulk up a meal? We don't like to eat pasta and bread a lot, but our meals always seem to need *something* else. Rice doesn't fill us up. I've been experimenting with beans more, and sometimes we do potatoes. Any other ideas?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on February 09, 2017, 08:28:24 AM
How about couscous or falafel? And how about cooking your rice Mexican-style, in broth, mixing in bits of bell pepper, cilantro, and onion? Or Indian style with sliced almonds and peas?

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on February 09, 2017, 03:51:21 PM
Hi guys -- joining late, but this is my primary focus for the year, so this seems like a good place.  I don't even know and don't want to know what our last year's food spend was, but I'm guessing $1000-$1200/mo. on groceries alone, and probably half that again on general takeout and meaningless crap.  The big kicker was when I ordered Chinese delivery one Friday night when I didn't want to cook, and suddenly realized I was paying $70 for a completely meaningless meal, most of which was unhealthy to boot. [FWIW, I did eat the leftovers myself for lunch the entire next week, but still, if I'm going to spend $70, I want it to be delicious and memorable].

My goal for this year is $600/mo. for groceries and weeknight takeout for the four of us (2 adults, teenage girl, preteen boy).  I am recommitting to the menu planning, I have replaced Wegman's with Aldi's, and I am cutting back on the treats (e.g., we're still going to have good cheese or salami, but one at a time is more than sufficient).  This figure includes toiletries that I get at the supermarket but not monthly Amazon Subscribe & Save (I am also taking a hard look at that).  It also includes weekly dairy delivery that I am not about to give up because it is pure deliciousness, but I am being more selective about what/how much I order. 

I began this in mid-January, and I did very well -- $70 at Aldi's each week and no takeout (though I hadn't thought about the dairy yet).  Wheels came off the cart first week in February -- a literally last-minute trip cancellation + surprise Superbowl company left me running to the store Sunday morning with no plan, and I ended up dropping $100 at Aldi's and then (stupidly) let DH pick up the few things I couldn't find at Wegman's, where he promptly dropped another $100 [I really do know better than to send that man unsupervised to the store -- sent him once for milk and bread and he dropped $64.  He has many fine qualities, but frugality is not one of them.  Nor is sticking to the list.].  So for February so far, 9 days in and 1/3 of the budget gone.  But we will be back on the horse this week.  And I canceled dairy this week too, because we had enough milk/butter and Aldi's eggs are way cheaper. :-)

I also have to caveat, though it makes me feel ridiculously whiny, that I am only accounting for the stuff that I do.  When I travel for work, DH just gets takeout -- in years past, I have spent all Sunday cooking things that he liked and left them labeled in the fridge, along with notes of what I had planned for his and the kids' meals, and come home to discover they had eaten McDonald's and pizza every night.  He has gotten a little better; if I leave simple things like bratwurst and hot dogs and deli, he will eat that once or twice instead of ordering out.  But it's just not worth me fretting about or trying to control; he's a grown man, and he's going to do what he's going to do.  So I'm going to keep putting some reasonable food in the fridge, but I refuse to take the fall here for whatever he puts on the credit card while I'm gone. :-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on February 09, 2017, 04:17:07 PM
Our total for the first week of Feb was $74. I think I've addressed a few issues that bumped that number up (primarily snacks and work food). Really working on just buying what we need, but I'll probably hit Costco sometime next week for a few things.

Any ideas for non-grain foods to bulk up a meal? We don't like to eat pasta and bread a lot, but our meals always seem to need *something* else. Rice doesn't fill us up. I've been experimenting with beans more, and sometimes we do potatoes. Any other ideas?

I just googled for "Foods that fill you up" and got these hits:

http://dailyburn.com/life/health/low-calorie-foods-feel-full/ (http://dailyburn.com/life/health/low-calorie-foods-feel-full/)

http://www.womenfitness.net/top10/fight-hunger/ (http://www.womenfitness.net/top10/fight-hunger/)

http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2012/01/11/top-10-foods-that-fill-you-up/ (http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2012/01/11/top-10-foods-that-fill-you-up/)

I know you didn't ask about low-cal options, and these all seem to be pointed toward that, but the overall theme seems to be fibre, protein, and (healthy) fat.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on February 09, 2017, 04:37:20 PM
How about couscous or falafel? And how about cooking your rice Mexican-style, in broth, mixing in bits of bell pepper, cilantro, and onion? Or Indian style with sliced almonds and peas?

Great ideas! I'm not a big couscous person, but that reminds me that I was thinking of trying some intact grains (I used to really like bulgur). I think I've only ever had falafel once or twice, so not really sure if I like it...Only one way to find out!

I just googled for "Foods that fill you up" and got these hits:

http://dailyburn.com/life/health/low-calorie-foods-feel-full/ (http://dailyburn.com/life/health/low-calorie-foods-feel-full/)

http://www.womenfitness.net/top10/fight-hunger/ (http://www.womenfitness.net/top10/fight-hunger/)

http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2012/01/11/top-10-foods-that-fill-you-up/ (http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2012/01/11/top-10-foods-that-fill-you-up/)

I know you didn't ask about low-cal options, and these all seem to be pointed toward that, but the overall theme seems to be fibre, protein, and (healthy) fat.

Thanks! We usually have a few servings of veggies with dinner, so adding more fat to them might help.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Benny3 on February 09, 2017, 04:37:48 PM
Hi - long time lurker and a first time poster, who would like to join the 2017 grocery challenge.  I feel like the new kid at school!

My goal for 2017 is to keep groceries under $250 a month and eating out under $100. This includes all household supplies as well but does not include pet food or eating out.  We are a family of 5, two adults and 3 kids all under 8.  I've always been a "sale shopper" and buying what ever is on sale and my husband is the family chef.  I'm lucky that he can make something tasty out of whatever sale items I find that week (whereas I have been known to burn water).  We almost always pack everyone's lunches and we do family style dinners at least 5 times a week with the remaining nights being leftovers or the occasional take out pizza..

That all being said, January was NOT a frugal month for us.  I spent $601.40 on groceries and $75.37 on eating out. However that also included our semi-annual bulk shopping "stock up" trip to Costco.  I am working towards under $200 for February to offset what I spent in January and lots of pantry cooking this month. 

Thank you all for the inspiration to join a challenge and hopefully having to check in will help keep me accountable.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on February 09, 2017, 04:45:02 PM
Hi - long time lurker and a first time poster, who would like to join the 2017 grocery challenge.  I feel like the new kid at school!

WELCOME!! Glad you came out of lurkerdom :) For a family of 5 it sounds like you are doing great! Hope you'll share some tips as well :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Benny3 on February 10, 2017, 09:24:04 AM
Thank you Swick!! I am usually a very shy individual so this is a big step for me :)

We are in the SoCal area so we do a lot of chicken, carnitas, rice, beans, basically anything you can throw on both the grill and tortillas.  If I follow the sales I can get boneless chicken breast for $1.30/lb, pork for carnitas for $0.94/lb., rice for $0.26/lb and dried pintos for the same. We eat tons of fresh veggies and berries too.   As long as the produce is in season here its insanely cheap as in 5 lbs onions for $1 or zuchinni or roma tomatoes 3 lbs for a $1.  We mostly make our own guacamole, salsas and dips.  Like I said before my husband can make anything taste good which is probably what helps us out the most when it comes to our food budget. 

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on February 10, 2017, 09:37:59 AM
Welcome, Benny3! I'm in San Diego so your general neck of the woods here, and 3 kids also but one is 16 so he eats more than the rest of us combined. We do a LOT of Mexican food too; my husband has mastered homemade enchilada sauce and salsa, which makes it much more reasonable than store-bought. I'm lucky like you are in that my husband is the primary cook and can make pretty good stuff these days.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on February 10, 2017, 03:32:46 PM
I'm a month late, as I started my groceries journey on the Frugal January thread, but I'm posting to follow! My first goal is $200/m eating out and $700/m groceries, but by the end of the year I'd like it to be $600/m groceries and $150/m eating out, including any additional items we add to our grocery list due to our first baby due in April/May.

I'll update with our starting numbers once I have a computer :)
OK so our starting numbers are:
January
Eating out: $275
Groceries:  $890 (5 grocery weekends)
Total:       $1165

Goal #1:  $900/m total

The first strategies we're trying are to have almost the same lunch every day plus small variations, and to pick 2 simple-to-cook meals for during the week. I've signed up for PlanToEat, but I haven't made time to really play with what it can do, so we're meal planning with pen and paper for now.

As it's summer, the menu is salad + a protein for lunch, snacks are chopped fruit and a baked item (muffin, hot cross bun with cream cheese, etc), and a dairy item (yogurt or cream cheese).
I think we're going to get through this week without a mid-week shop. I pulled some lasagne out of the freezer to defrost in the fridge over the day, and I'll check tonight for something for tomorrow night's dinner.

We didn't buy enough snack food (yoghurts and fresh fruit), so I made cake. Yum!
We made it through the week with out an extra trip! We might spend just a bit more this week, if we can find something pre-made DH would like to take for lunches.

I think we're going to get through this week without a mid-week shop. I pulled some lasagne out of the freezer to defrost in the fridge over the day, and I'll check tonight for something for tomorrow night's dinner.

We didn't buy enough snack food (yoghurts and fresh fruit), so I made cake. Yum!

I usually do my main shop in the middle of the week, and as I posted in another thread, I sat down tonight and did all my flyer review, figuring out what I was going to buy - then decided that I really didn't need to leave the house to go and grocery shop, as I still have plenty of food for at least the next few days.  I may need to pop into the store briefly on the week to pick up a couple of fruits and veg (less than $5 worth, really, just a couple of things to tide me over).  But otherwise should be just fine until this time next week.
Ooh, awesome PJ!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: tortoiseshell on February 11, 2017, 07:20:44 AM
January total food spending: $259.40

This is WELL under my goal of $350 (which I had never achieved before, somehow?) and under my stretch goal of $300 as well. The most amazing thing is that this includes a $61.00 anniversary dinner, so I'm going to try to aim for $200 every month going forward!

It's February 11 and I'm already up to 177.13, so $200.00 won't happen this month. I will still shoot for $250.00.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on February 12, 2017, 07:57:39 PM
So far so good on the "food" end; still figuring out the extras.  This week was $82 in groceries.  Wins include *not* just "grabbing a bite" while out and about the last two days (something we totally would have done last year), and getting invited out for dinner Sat. night and having them come over and cooking instead (required a last-minute $12 London broil, but still way better).  The total even included $10 for DD to have pho, which she has been begging for for a few weeks (I still can't believe I walked in, starving, at lunchtime, and walked out with only one order for her!).

The other stuff I still haven't figured out how to account for is the combo of DH and non-grocery.  E.g., in addition to the $82 in groceries, I picked up @2 months of glucosamine for DH for $30 (note to self: check online prices); then he went out again later for deodorant and came home with a bunch of Valentine's Day stuff for the kids (for I don't even know how much - will need to see next CC bill).

Honestly, I was a little bummed, because even though I said my target was $600/mo, I really wanted to come in at around $400.  But I guess if I keep the actual food part (grocery/takeout) to about $100/week, that still gives me another $150-200/mo. for all the other stuff while staying within the $600 total.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on February 12, 2017, 09:39:00 PM
I'm a month late, as I started my groceries journey on the Frugal January thread, but I'm posting to follow! My first goal is $200/m eating out and $700/m groceries, but by the end of the year I'd like it to be $600/m groceries and $150/m eating out, including any additional items we add to our grocery list due to our first baby due in April/May.

I'll update with our starting numbers once I have a computer :)
OK so our starting numbers are:
January
Eating out: $275
Groceries:  $890 (5 grocery weekends)
Total:       $1165

Goal #1:  $900/m total

The first strategies we're trying are to have almost the same lunch every day plus small variations, and to pick 2 simple-to-cook meals for during the week. I've signed up for PlanToEat, but I haven't made time to really play with what it can do, so we're meal planning with pen and paper for now.

As it's summer, the menu is salad + a protein for lunch, snacks are chopped fruit and a baked item (muffin, hot cross bun with cream cheese, etc), and a dairy item (yogurt or cream cheese).
I think we're going to get through this week without a mid-week shop. I pulled some lasagne out of the freezer to defrost in the fridge over the day, and I'll check tonight for something for tomorrow night's dinner.

We didn't buy enough snack food (yoghurts and fresh fruit), so I made cake. Yum!
We made it through the week with out an extra trip! We might spend just a bit more this week, if we can find something pre-made DH would like to take for lunches.
We spent $200 on groceries on the weekend. We had to make the list while sitting in the shopping centre, and I stocked up on a few rarer items (frozen pastry, ..?) Plus some extras to make muffins for a sick friend. Our only eating out is a couple of lunches and an ice cream I bought yesterday, so for our overall spending that is just fine.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on February 12, 2017, 11:17:23 PM
Coffee at home this morning, and a granola bar for breakfast from the stash I keep at work.
Lunch was a small bowl of lentil/veggie soup (sent home with me after the seniors lunch at the church on Thursday) and some plantain fritters sent home today from coffee hour.
Supper, I finally got to making one of my expired-last-year packages of rice and grains, the kind you can microwave in the bag.  Seeds of Change southwest flavour, with quinoa and rice.  Nice flavour, satisfying chewy-ness to it.  On top, some of the split pea/veg stew I made the other day.  Put several more servings of that in the freezer, and pulled out one of last week's pasta containers for some variety.

I succumbed to a quick stop at Walmart on the way home from church.  I needed meds for the cat, but also grabbed a package of tofu.  I think I have to be careful about working in some variety from all the rice with beans/split peas/lentils that I have to eat, because I'm already a little bit bored (with the texture, mostly).  Though, I'll probably eat the tofu with rice too!  Or at least, some of it.

(I also bought a cheap 6 pack of glazed donuts for $1, but I've already confessed that in another thread, so we don't need to talk about it here, right?)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: afuera on February 13, 2017, 08:23:12 AM
How much chicken is too much chicken?  The Foodarama Fiesta on my street has chicken breast on sale for $0.97/lb and our Aldi has chicken thighs for $0.69/lb.  Do I buy as much as I can fit in the freezer?

Are these prices for boneless or bone-in meat? In my area, those would be amazing prices for boneless, but for bone-in those are pretty common sale prices which repeat every 6 - 8 weeks or so. So, if bone-in I'd buy myself enough to last a month or two knowing I'd see that price again before long. If boneless I'd buy as much as physically possible. This is where making a grocery price book can be very useful.

Boneless :)  Funny thing is I wouldn't have even recognized it as a good price a few weeks ago...

$33 later we now have 33lbs of chicken.  2 lbs in the slow cooker for some shredded chicken we can keep in the fridge and quickly add to salads and other dishes, 2 lbs in the fridge for a few chicken meals we will make this week, and the rest in the freezer.  We most likely won't need to buy chicken again until April or May!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on February 13, 2017, 09:21:15 AM
GREAT deal on the chicken, afuera!!

I spent only $39.30 on groceries last week, mostly milk and fruit, but $12.50 went for 13 bagels.  Husband loves bagels so, but I should go on Tuesdays when it's buy 12, get 6 free.  Just happened to be in front of the bakery on a Saturday.

A little worried about this week, since our fridge keeps conking out and the things in the freezer have been thawing. I need to move  all the frozen food to the chest freezer in the garage, and order a new thermostat ASAP! Or else all the dinners I precooked last week will go bad!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on February 13, 2017, 11:20:30 AM
A little worried about this week, since our fridge keeps conking out and the things in the freezer have been thawing. I need to move  all the frozen food to the chest freezer in the garage, and order a new thermostat ASAP! Or else all the dinners I precooked last week will go bad!

Oh no!  That sounds so frustrating.  Get that stuff moved, Poundwise! 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on February 13, 2017, 12:22:11 PM
$33 later we now have 33lbs of chicken.  2 lbs in the slow cooker for some shredded chicken we can keep in the fridge and quickly add to salads and other dishes, 2 lbs in the fridge for a few chicken meals we will make this week, and the rest in the freezer.  We most likely won't need to buy chicken again until April or May!

So beautiful! *wipes tear from eye* :)

OK I am well on track after this weekend's shopping, I only spent about $42. I got 6 lbs of ground turkey at 1.97/lb - turned that into 3 meat loaves and 12 turkey burger patties in the freezer for easy meals, 4 whole chickens - .77/lb, plus I had an e-coupon for $5/$15 of meat so that was roughly $10 on the chicken, then produce, a gallon of milk, lunch meat, crackers (on sale and had an e-coupon), and a can of soup and a candy bar both free after e-coupons. The freezer's feeling quite full again, I need to reorganize a little which will open up a bit of space though.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on February 15, 2017, 07:25:33 AM
We spent $185 the first half of the month. Not bad! Much lower than last month. And I managed to only spend $38 at Costco yesterday. I still feel like we have a decent amount of food in the house, so hopefully the second half of the month will also be relatively low-spend and YNAB will stop getting mad at me :)

Today's task is to not buy a ton of snacks at work.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on February 15, 2017, 11:17:39 AM
Spent only about $18 at the grocery store yesterday, kept to only replenishing dairy (milk, cream) and produce.  Only thing is they didn't have some produce that I wanted stocked up.  Trying to decide whether to pop back by again today (last day for these sale flyers) hoping to pick those things up, or just go with what I have and try to hold out until next week for more produce. 

*sniff*

I really wanted some berries and a bag of avocados!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on February 15, 2017, 02:28:36 PM
we're rocking 82 bucks half way thru the month.  with quite a bit of food sitting around the house.  but you need to add the half cow to that at 60 a month.  plus ground turkey is on sale and i just ran out last week so that will be a large stock the freezer purchase this week. really hoping we can sit under 250 this month but we will see.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on February 16, 2017, 12:29:18 AM
Today one of the grocery stores gives 17% discount on all fruit and vegetables and 3% on all other goods for customers with customer card, which I have. In addition, my credit card gives 3% discount on all groceries. Therefore: shopping today. Plus eating homemade lunch, as usual.

Yesterday we had as good as no vegetables in the fridge at dinner time. So I looked in the freezer for alternatives and found a box of meat/vegetable sauce leftover from last weeks cooking. We eat that with tortillas that we past the best before date, but also put in the freezer. And I made tzaziki from a rest of yoghurt and half a cucumber that was beyond it's best condition.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on February 16, 2017, 04:55:21 AM
Most Everyone here should likely have the amex blue cash preferred. ESP those spending over 275 per month. It's worth 6% cash back on groceries. 

If someone wants a referral on this card let me know i get 50 dollars. PM me.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on February 16, 2017, 06:09:52 AM
Today one of the grocery stores gives 17% discount on all fruit and vegetables and 3% on all other goods for customers with customer card, which I have. In addition, my credit card gives 3% discount on all groceries. Therefore: shopping today. Plus eating homemade lunch, as usual.

Yesterday we had as good as no vegetables in the fridge at dinner time. So I looked in the freezer for alternatives and found a box of meat/vegetable sauce leftover from last weeks cooking. We eat that with tortillas that we past the best before date, but also put in the freezer. And I made tzaziki from a rest of yoghurt and half a cucumber that was beyond it's best condition.

Hooray for discounts on things you should actually be buying/eating, rather than the sales on the usual over-processed crap (yeah, ok, some of which I buy, especially when it's on sale!)

And your dinner sounds not only resourceful, but quite delicious!  I love tzatziki!   
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on February 16, 2017, 07:10:17 AM
Sigh.  Now in a fail/downer moment.  Yesterday I caved to kids' request for Subway for the usual reasons (trying to fit dinner into 30 mins between dentist and school event, kids pleading, etc.) + we were out of my quick kid fallbacks (e.g., Michelina's mac and cheese for 99c) because Aldi doesn't carry them.  $17 down the tubes.  Then had to toss the grapes I just got last weekend that went bad.  This morning I discovered we are out of OJ, and I hadn't ordered any from the dairy because it's freaking $6/quart and I thought we still had cheaper stuff.  And I have basically no veggies in the house because I didn't plan well last weekend. 

I guess this is a good reminder of why I am doing this -- too many years of sloth and laziness = fallen into bad habits, with too many easy-but-expensive quick fixes.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on February 16, 2017, 12:21:33 PM
Doing pretty well so far this month. We did get lunch out yesterday, but we split a huge sandwich at a delicious new place near us and drank free water, so with a tip it was $10 for both of us. We are on track to be under $1100 for the month, but we are gone skiing all of next week. We'll cook most meals at our airbnb, but the drive is 8 hours each way, so we'll probably get one meal on the road each way. Trying to plan ahead to make the trip as inexpensive as possible.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: recklesslysober on February 16, 2017, 01:03:28 PM
This month ($392.85 so far) has been kind of a 180 for me from last month ($173.46 total).

In January we went through a lot of the pantry/freezer/fridge as part of that challenge so there was some restocking (meat, spices, vanilla, etc.). It was my birthday so I probably spent $35 on snacks when we had a bunch of friends over. We've also been sick so lots of canned soup (on sale but still..), crackers, popsicles, juice, tea, etc.

The average is still lower than my average from last year though, and I'm hoping to spend minimally for the rest of the month and into March. Once I start cooking at home more again I should be able to get back on track easily!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: tightwaddy on February 17, 2017, 05:51:53 AM
Most Everyone here should likely have the amex blue cash preferred. ESP those spending over 275 per month. It's worth 6% cash back on groceries. 

The blue cash preferred is perfect for me since we spend over $500 per month generally. For the past two years I've combined it with the December Whole Foods gift card bonus (I think most of them do something, many more generous than mine).  It seems like WF would be very anti-mustacian, but I live in an area of limited options and have found them to be very affordable for many things.

To enhance this, as I mentioned, in December if you buy $500 gift card, they give you an extra 10%.  I buy a years' worth of gift cards then, and with the Amex end up getting just over 15% off the top of all purchases (extra 10% works out to be about 9% off).

Then, I pre-order cases of things whenever possible (10% off).  I also combine with WF coupons and sales. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on February 19, 2017, 11:59:29 AM
Well, ok today, not awesome.  It was a stock-up week for a few things, so both Wegman's and Aldi's for a total of $188.  But $42 of that was for DD's charity "cook for homeless shelter" event this week, so it doesn't really count as "groceries," and $20 was toiletries.  So the real food was $127 -- and $20 of that was stocking up on boneless skinless chicken breasts at $1.88 lb, which are now happily packaged in my freezer.  I also kept the dairy to $18, so even with my Subway cave, the weekly total was $162.

May also be the first Wegman's trip ever under $100, so that's a total win, at least.  :-). Looks like grocery/takeout total is $460, so a reasonable week next week should get us on the larger budget, even with my Superbowl screwup and DH's candy excursion.

This has really brought home how much we spend on non-grocery or non-nutritive items (e.g. OTC meds, Gatorade).  Have to think about that.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Guava on February 19, 2017, 07:45:43 PM
We have way over spent this month because we have both been sick over a week now (over 2 for me). Between OTC meds and more convenience type foods so we don't have to cook, I am really feeling the budget crunch.  This was supposed to be the week I batch cook after work but things are not looking good.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on February 20, 2017, 05:49:44 AM
killing it so far this month.  sitting at 151 plus 60 for the cow.  but a huge sale at the store today will have us spending another 50 dollars give or take 98c pork butts.  our favorite pizzas at their bottom price.  this includes 2 6-packs of beer as well.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: gaja on February 20, 2017, 06:33:10 AM
We have already spent $200 more than in January. Most of this was spent spoiling the youngest daughter while she was in hospital, but some of it is plain bad planning, and stockpiling detergent. I've only found two brands I can use to wash my clothes without breaking out in hives, and Saturday there was a 35% sale on one of those. The last time I found a similar sale was 10 years ago, so we bought enough to last us for a very long time. DD is not really well yet, so we still have a bit of spoiling to do. But we should be back to normal within the end of this week. I'm really just surprised the result is not worse. Even with all the eating out, no limits on icecream and candy, and stockpiling, we are still below the average grocery spending in 2016.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Mezzie on February 20, 2017, 07:52:40 AM
Right now I'm at $123.75 for the month and I have no more grocery trips planned for February, but the number is deceptive because I've eaten out three times, including twice when I treated, bringing my total food purchases up to $220, well above my $200 self-imposed max and $160 goal. I'm also planning to eat out at least a couple times this week while I'm in downtown food heaven for jury duty.

Next month will be better!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on February 20, 2017, 05:44:37 PM
We've spent $480 this month and I expect to spend an absolute maximum of $200 on the last trip of the month - fitting in nicely under our $700 goal for groceries! I'll only be able to spend that much if we stock up on meat, which I think I might do.

We're actually on track with eating out as well, though DH has bought lunches more than we'd like, and we have a birthday brunch to attend on Sunday.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on February 21, 2017, 07:53:50 AM
I need to buy some dried beans today, after which I should be at about $280 for food this month. My goal for the month is $460 ($115 a week), so we should be well under that. Though I'll probably spend a chunk of money at Costco in the next week.

I've been trying to incorporate more beans into meals, and eating more potatoes. My new breakfast, which does a great job of keeping me full until lunch, is a couple eggs with roasted potatoes. I'm also working on learning to make bread. My latest attempt, on Sunday, didn't rise properly. Husband is a good sport and ate it anyway :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on February 21, 2017, 07:55:48 AM
and this month will be a high month.  1 day sale at the local grocery store yesterday.  bought 60lbs of pork butts for 98c a lb.  hadnt seen that price in a long time.  smoker will be fired up sooner than later.  plus they had some packaged foods we like marked way down.  our favorite pizzas were 2.48 each etc
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on February 21, 2017, 09:09:06 AM
and this month will be a high month.  1 day sale at the local grocery store yesterday.  bought 60lbs of pork butts for 98c a lb.  hadnt seen that price in a long time.  smoker will be fired up sooner than later.  plus they had some packaged foods we like marked way down.  our favorite pizzas were 2.48 each etc

That is freaking awesome!  Well done. 

Part of my current thinking is to eat some of the miscellaneous leftovers out of the freezer so I have room the next time there is a big sale on useful stuff.  But since I have a bad habit of not labeling stuff in Tupperware, it can make for an interesting dinner.  :-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on February 21, 2017, 12:42:59 PM
Had a fairly big shopping trip this weekend, so I'm up to about $225 out of a goal of $250 for the month. I think I'll be able to make it as I should hopefully just need produce and maybe milk and yogurt next weekend.

This weekend was pricey because we stocked up on some good deals and replenished a few of the more expensive things we were out of. Pork chops (bone-in) were super cheap at .97/lb so I bought a large package (10 chops for under $8). And I was out of string cheese (a staple snack for me), so I bought the ginormous 48 pack for $7.50 since its cheaper per-unit then the smaller packs. I also bought a 5 lbs bag of shredded mozzarella for ~$12. Honey is never cheap and I was out, so that was another $6-$7. Eggs were on sale for .99/dozen so we got 6 dozen - I'll be making a large batch of breakfast burritos for the freezer. And then hubby had come with me, and he saw that Powerade was on sale (.69 ea) and wanted to buy a bunch. Usually he buys himself drinks with his personal spending allowance but when its on sale I'll go ahead and buy a few with the grocery funds for him. It goes on sale cheaper (.49 ea) periodically but he's accustomed to the $1.49 or so he normally pays at 7-11, so he didn't quite get my lack of excitement at the price :) In any event, he was happy to get it and I can still meet our budget so it all works out.

So in summary, we bought tons of stuff and most of it will last well into next month, so I just need to be diligent next weekend and I should be on target.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: rachellynn99 on February 23, 2017, 10:57:41 AM
February was/is pretty bad...
I basically just through out my grocery budget. A new Sam's club opened and I've been going there too frequently.I know, that's  a terrible excuse, but I was weak...
So---- March is coming and I'm ready. I've been organizing my freezers and pantry, I'm making a food plan and I am optimistic!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on February 23, 2017, 11:44:21 AM
February was/is pretty bad...
I basically just through out my grocery budget. A new Sam's club opened and I've been going there too frequently.I know, that's  a terrible excuse, but I was weak...
So---- March is coming and I'm ready. I've been organizing my freezers and pantry, I'm making a food plan and I am optimistic!

this isnt a month to month game.  see how i just spent 70 bucks on pork butts.  blew the budget up this month but we wont need to buy these in the future
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: gaja on February 25, 2017, 11:48:20 AM
Got 5 pounds of minced meat for 2.5 USD/pound (normal price here is closer to 6). The freezer now holds 6 lasagna dinners and 20 servings (5 dinners) of bolognese.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: tyrannostache on February 25, 2017, 07:57:46 PM
OK, this one I am 100% in on.

We are brand new to the forum and JUST starting to budget more thoughtfully, taking baby steps toward getting our spending on track. Our grocery/household items spending for January was waaay out of whack, somewhere around $1000 for a family of 3 (2 adults, 1 kid). I blame a combination of thoughtless Costco trips, poor meal planning, lunch out, a long weekend out of town, wasteful use of leftovers, throwing a dinner party, and me being in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Regardless, seeing that huge number was like a punch in the gut.

So we are starting by doing better planning, eating down the pantry and freezer, and generally being more mindful. So far, we have done pretty well in February. The goal for this month was to bring all food spending down to $600, and we'll come in just a hair under. Still, I'm sure we can do better. For March, it's ON. Goal: $450

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on February 26, 2017, 09:19:24 AM
OK, this one I am 100% in on.

We are brand new to the forum and JUST starting to budget more thoughtfully, taking baby steps toward getting our spending on track. Our grocery/household items spending for January was waaay out of whack, somewhere around $1000 for a family of 3 (2 adults, 1 kid). I blame a combination of thoughtless Costco trips, poor meal planning, lunch out, a long weekend out of town, wasteful use of leftovers, throwing a dinner party, and me being in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Regardless, seeing that huge number was like a punch in the gut.

So we are starting by doing better planning, eating down the pantry and freezer, and generally being more mindful. So far, we have done pretty well in February. The goal for this month was to bring all food spending down to $600, and we'll come in just a hair under. Still, I'm sure we can do better. For March, it's ON. Goal: $450

Welcome aboard tyrannostache! Sounds like you're off to a great start. It's amazing how much money we can save just by paying attention!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Drole on February 26, 2017, 10:02:52 AM
I've definitely let too much slide in the food/groceries/eat out categories so I set a new budget and am failing horribly so far.  My excuse for now is that we just moved and so we are having to start fresh and buy a lot more than normal.  There is no pantry or freezer to empty, etc. 

But visiting with old friends and watching the spendy-spend.....well, I guess that's why I found this group. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on February 26, 2017, 12:36:09 PM
OK, I just did my last shop for February and the totals are in... *drumroll*... $246.37! (Goal was $250).

I only had about $25 to spend today, so I just got enough produce for the week, a jug of OJ for breakfast smoothies, 5 bags of frozen vegetables on sale, a loaf of bread (had an e-coupon), and a single yogurt and a chocolate egg that were both free with e-coupons. That was everything I really needed and I still had some money to spare, so I went ahead and stocked hubby up on Powerade because it was on sale cheap if you bought 10. I don't normally like to buy that kind of crap but it makes him happy and I had room in the budget so why not?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Hotstreak on February 26, 2017, 03:27:49 PM
I'm on board this year.  I've been regularly spending $500/mo at the grocery store (including all household supplies), which is an awful lot for a single person.  I then go and spend an additional chunk of money a couple times a year to stock up on bulk beef, fish, or CSA, which drives my average up to $550 or so.


I am working to reduce to $400/mo for the year.  I'm drinking less alcohol at home, eating less meat, and shopping vegetables based on sales instead of other preferences.  I'm not signing up for CSA this year because it's not that great of a deal, & getting a box of random stuff every other week messes with my intent to shop deliberately.  Since this includes soap, cleaner, etc., I'm looking out for deals on any of those items which I expect to run out of in the next 6 months.


January - Very high at $750 including $300 Costco stocking up on vitamins for the year and some household supplies (closer to $500 without those extra items).
February - Done shopping for the month, $352 spent.
March - My goal is $300.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on February 26, 2017, 03:32:45 PM
620 thru 2 months. And a freezer stocked with cheap meats. Though corned beef points are on sale at Aldi Wednesday and pastrami burnt ends are screaming my name
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on February 26, 2017, 08:42:15 PM
I am working to reduce to $400/mo for the year.  I'm drinking less alcohol at home, eating less meat, and shopping vegetables based on sales instead of other preferences.  I'm not signing up for CSA this year because it's not that great of a deal, & getting a box of random stuff every other week messes with my intent to shop deliberately.  Since this includes soap, cleaner, etc., I'm looking out for deals on any of those items which I expect to run out of in the next 6 months.

You may be able to save a fair amount on those household items if you just, you know, clean less.  At least, that's my excuse for my minimalist cleaning routine!  ;-)

Seriously though, I do the vast majority of what little cleaning I do using a regular household cleaner like Mr. Clean or Pinesol etc, in a spray bottle and heavily diluted.  I'm not brand loyal and I buy whatever's cheapest, on sale, and/or that I have a coupon for.  I keep one spray bottle under the bathroom sink and one under the kitchen sink, and I use the same cleaner, again heavily diluted, when I mop.  I also use much less than the recommended amount of laundry detergent, less dish detergent than my parents ever did, etc.  For hand soap, if someone gifts me those foamy pump hand soaps, I'll use a little bit then start diluting it, and when it's finally gone, I usually refill it with some heavily diluted bath and body wash (usually cheap and/or bought on sale). 

I figure that whether you're cleaning your house or your body or your clothes, that friction and water do the majority of the work, and just a little soap added to the mix goes a long way.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Well Respected Man on February 26, 2017, 09:23:43 PM
In for this challenge. Last year was $1030/month for 4.67 people average for groceries, including household items and maybe a few gifts or miscellaneous things from Costco. So far this year, we're at $684/month plus a prepaid CSA of $350 for 20 weeks in the summer. We're expecting to average 4.4 people for the year, or maybe a little less, because we are traveling for about a month in the summer (will donate those CSA weeks to the food bank). I'll set a goal of $775/month, which is about 20% less per person than last year.

We are also doing better on eating out, but that will drop by the wayside during vacation. We will probably do some dinners in Airbnbs/vrbos, and most breakfasts, but there will be plenty of nomming going on.

We are doing somewhat better on alcohol, and again, that will be paused during our vacation.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Hotstreak on February 27, 2017, 09:23:49 AM
I am working to reduce to $400/mo for the year.  I'm drinking less alcohol at home, eating less meat, and shopping vegetables based on sales instead of other preferences.  I'm not signing up for CSA this year because it's not that great of a deal, & getting a box of random stuff every other week messes with my intent to shop deliberately.  Since this includes soap, cleaner, etc., I'm looking out for deals on any of those items which I expect to run out of in the next 6 months.

You may be able to save a fair amount on those household items if you just, you know, clean less.  At least, that's my excuse for my minimalist cleaning routine!  ;-)

Seriously though, I do the vast majority of what little cleaning I do using a regular household cleaner like Mr. Clean or Pinesol etc, in a spray bottle and heavily diluted.  I'm not brand loyal and I buy whatever's cheapest, on sale, and/or that I have a coupon for.  I keep one spray bottle under the bathroom sink and one under the kitchen sink, and I use the same cleaner, again heavily diluted, when I mop.  I also use much less than the recommended amount of laundry detergent, less dish detergent than my parents ever did, etc.  For hand soap, if someone gifts me those foamy pump hand soaps, I'll use a little bit then start diluting it, and when it's finally gone, I usually refill it with some heavily diluted bath and body wash (usually cheap and/or bought on sale). 

I figure that whether you're cleaning your house or your body or your clothes, that friction and water do the majority of the work, and just a little soap added to the mix goes a long way.

Yes very true :).  I don't use a lot of sprays or anything, but I do go through a fair amount of handsoap, laundry detergent, paper towels, etc.  These "extras" also include things like replacement HVAC air filters, toothbrushes, razors, etc. etc.  Basically anything that is bought at the grocery store.  I think most people's "Grocery" category includes all these things, but some people split it out.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on February 27, 2017, 11:25:17 AM
Well, definitely disappointed this month -- ended up at $630 on groceries/takeout/"on the go" meals, and right at about $700 if you count non-food staples.  I really thought I'd do better than that.  The monthly $600 target was within reach but missed because (i) I forgot to return the dairy bottles (will get credit this week), (ii) I stocked up at Aldi's on some cheap things for the pantry, (iii) I ran out of cat litter and bought some more staples to get up to the free shipping level, (iv) we ate lunch out Sat. at the arts fair ($32 at jacked-up fair prices), and (v) DH went unsupervised to Safeway. All of that put this last week at $169 for food and $191 all together -- extra frustrating, because I'm not even *home* this week and so didn't even buy much real food. 

But this has been a pretty horrifying illustration of how much we must have been spending before now without even thinking about it -- we must have cut groceries/takeout in half at least. The sad thing is that this ridiculously spendy budget "felt" tight, because I wasn't buying the treats I usually get for DH and the kids, I only made one quick trip to Wegman's for specific staples Aldi's didn't have, and we had all of 2.5 takeout/eat-while-out-and-about meals (@$60 total).  So it has felt like a big behavioral change, which is why I am disappointed not to hit what I thought was a super-easy target.  Oh well, there's always next month (which, at least, doesn't have the Superbowl in it, so there's that).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: recklesslysober on February 27, 2017, 11:52:30 AM
My total for the month was $497.02 - happy to be under $500.00 (no eating out either) but I know I can do better next month! January was under $200.00.. Aiming for the middle in March - $300.00.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Drole on February 27, 2017, 12:14:08 PM
(v) DH went unsupervised to Safeway.

I live this too.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on February 27, 2017, 12:36:55 PM
Well, I am disappointed to say that we are over my monthly target, sitting at $1268. We just got back late Friday from a ski trip, and we did pretty well but did get a few more meals out than intended. On the upside, we took the same trip last year, and our February food spending last year was $1800 for our family of 5. Outrageous!! I'm pretty happy to have a greater than $500 savings over the same month last year, but it's not quite what I was hoping. Oh well. We are gone this Thursday-Sunday to Vegas for my oldest son's participation in the USA Rugby Sevens amateur tournament (come on scholarship with this rugby thing...), so I'll try again to improve our road food...we did do MUCH better by bringing snacks in the car and didn't buy a single thing at a gas station or travel stop, so I am considering that to be a huge improvement for us.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on February 27, 2017, 01:30:19 PM
I am working to reduce to $400/mo for the year.  I'm drinking less alcohol at home, eating less meat, and shopping vegetables based on sales instead of other preferences.  I'm not signing up for CSA this year because it's not that great of a deal, & getting a box of random stuff every other week messes with my intent to shop deliberately.  Since this includes soap, cleaner, etc., I'm looking out for deals on any of those items which I expect to run out of in the next 6 months.

You may be able to save a fair amount on those household items if you just, you know, clean less.  At least, that's my excuse for my minimalist cleaning routine!  ;-)

Seriously though, I do the vast majority of what little cleaning I do using a regular household cleaner like Mr. Clean or Pinesol etc, in a spray bottle and heavily diluted.  I'm not brand loyal and I buy whatever's cheapest, on sale, and/or that I have a coupon for.  I keep one spray bottle under the bathroom sink and one under the kitchen sink, and I use the same cleaner, again heavily diluted, when I mop.  I also use much less than the recommended amount of laundry detergent, less dish detergent than my parents ever did, etc.  For hand soap, if someone gifts me those foamy pump hand soaps, I'll use a little bit then start diluting it, and when it's finally gone, I usually refill it with some heavily diluted bath and body wash (usually cheap and/or bought on sale). 

I figure that whether you're cleaning your house or your body or your clothes, that friction and water do the majority of the work, and just a little soap added to the mix goes a long way.

Yes very true :).  I don't use a lot of sprays or anything, but I do go through a fair amount of handsoap, laundry detergent, paper towels, etc.  These "extras" also include things like replacement HVAC air filters, toothbrushes, razors, etc. etc.  Basically anything that is bought at the grocery store.  I think most people's "Grocery" category includes all these things, but some people split it out. 

Why not experiment with using a little bit less of things like laundry detergent, and watering down your handsoap, switching to rags (I use old clothing that is past the point of donation - rips and stains and so on) for some or all of your cleaning jobs, etc?  You can even water down things like shampoo slightly, if you feel that family members are using more than they need to.  I do keep paper towel around, but only use it for cleaning up solid and particularly disgusting gunk (cat messes and things like that).  Even then I occasionally use a rag, and just throw it out - since I'm not spending money on the rags, and always have lots, I just choose something that's less useful or absorbent so that I don't mind getting rid of it.  But all wiping of toilets, sinks, floors, dusting, etc is otherwise dealt with by something that's washable.  I bought a six pack of paper towel so long ago that I don't remember when it was - a year, maybe?  There are still 2 rolls left.

Anyway, no criticism intended, just a few suggestions from what I do.  I don't have enough context to criticize your overall grocery budget, but I also include those things in my grocery shopping costs, and I would describe my spending on HABA and household as a negligible part of that budget.  And all joking aside, that can't be entirely attributed to the frequency of my cleaning! 

(Now, if we wanted to talk about spending on pets, then I would end up black and blue from all the face punches!)

Well, I am disappointed to say that we are over my monthly target, sitting at $1268. We just got back late Friday from a ski trip, and we did pretty well but did get a few more meals out than intended. On the upside, we took the same trip last year, and our February food spending last year was $1800 for our family of 5. Outrageous!! I'm pretty happy to have a greater than $500 savings over the same month last year, but it's not quite what I was hoping. Oh well. We are gone this Thursday-Sunday to Vegas for my oldest son's participation in the USA Rugby Sevens amateur tournament (come on scholarship with this rugby thing...), so I'll try again to improve our road food...we did do MUCH better by bringing snacks in the car and didn't buy a single thing at a gas station or travel stop, so I am considering that to be a huge improvement for us. 

That does sound like an achievement to be proud of, jillinsandiego.  You obviously have figured out the gas station/travel stop stuff.

Was there any pattern to the rest of your spending on the trip?  Things in particular you need to watch out for?  Not bringing enough water to drink during the day, or succumbing to the lure of pop because that's what other people are drinking - if so would bringing some pop or juice as a treat help?  Or is it not bringing a big enough lunch, or varied enough lunch, to entice people away from day time snacks?  Or is it long fun busy days, and then succumbing to eating out for dinner.  If so, would having a prepared meal in waiting for you in the motel/hotel fridge help?  Or not planning where you'll eat in advance, so you end up wherever is close, rather than what's budget friendly?  Or it is a social thing - other families/friends wanting to go out to eat? 

I think travel food budgets are something that will take some time and practice to get optimized!

Well, definitely disappointed this month -- ended up at $630 on groceries/takeout/"on the go" meals, and right at about $700 if you count non-food staples.  I really thought I'd do better than that.  The monthly $600 target was within reach but missed because (i) I forgot to return the dairy bottles (will get credit this week), (ii) I stocked up at Aldi's on some cheap things for the pantry, (iii) I ran out of cat litter and bought some more staples to get up to the free shipping level, (iv) we ate lunch out Sat. at the arts fair ($32 at jacked-up fair prices), and (v) DH went unsupervised to Safeway. All of that put this last week at $169 for food and $191 all together -- extra frustrating, because I'm not even *home* this week and so didn't even buy much real food. 

But this has been a pretty horrifying illustration of how much we must have been spending before now without even thinking about it -- we must have cut groceries/takeout in half at least. The sad thing is that this ridiculously spendy budget "felt" tight, because I wasn't buying the treats I usually get for DH and the kids, I only made one quick trip to Wegman's for specific staples Aldi's didn't have, and we had all of 2.5 takeout/eat-while-out-and-about meals (@$60 total).  So it has felt like a big behavioral change, which is why I am disappointed not to hit what I thought was a super-easy target.  Oh well, there's always next month (which, at least, doesn't have the Superbowl in it, so there's that).

This is also something that takes a while to get optimized!  Look at all the factors you have in that one post.  Who shops, and where?  Entertaining (Superbowl).  Organization (returning bottles).  Inventory control (running out of cat litter).  Social (eating out at fair).  Mindfulness (how you managed groceries/eating out in the past).  Family appeasement (enough "treats" that no one feels deprived.  That's not A big behavioural change, it's a bunch of them, all at once.  There are bound to be some failures along the way.  You're still figuring out what's possible/doable!  You'll find the happy medium, soon enough!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on February 27, 2017, 03:21:04 PM
(v) DH went unsupervised to Safeway.

I live this too.

+1 This is the surest way for my budget to get blown! He's made a lot of improvement over the years, but I have to be very, VERY, explicit in my instructions if I send him to the store. I still try to avoid it if at all possible.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on February 27, 2017, 08:24:25 PM
PJ - just wanted to say thanks for your last post.  It's funny how I still think of myself as the "me" of 20+ years ago, who had all this dialed in -- sure, I've gotten lazy, but, come on, all I have to do is pay a little attention and we'll be right back in fighting trim.  HAH!  Hubris in action!  Because all of that spendy stuff is now its own habit, and now I have three other humans with their own expectations to consider, too (DH was actually annoyed I went to Aldi's instead of Wegman's this week, because I think he wanted fancy cheeses and prosciutto, and I swear DD is going through eating-out withdrawal).  I mean, I knew I was going to be taking on more actual work with the consistent menu planning and cooking, and I knew I was giving up the groceries-as-entertainment of Wegman's, but there is just so much emotion and habit and retraining and people-management on top of that!  So thank you for your words of encouragement -- I tend to get down on myself for failing to achieve instantaneous perfection.  ;-)  But, you know, it took us 20+ years to create these habits, so I really shouldn't be surprised that it took more than 28 days to break them.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on February 27, 2017, 10:55:52 PM
Is it flylady who says "It didn't get this way overnight, it isn't going to get fixed overnight"?

Trust me, Laura33, I have my own perfectionist tendencies.  I try to go all or nothing all the time, and get burnt out, and backslide.  This applies to money, housekeeping, diet, exercise, etc.  I've *started* to learn that I can go fast by going slow.  Less missteps that way!

Anyway, glad it was helpful.  If I'm honest, the most "helpful" posts I make directed to other people are also ones that speak to me as well!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on February 28, 2017, 10:04:14 AM
Thank you PJ both for your encouragement and your suggestions! For this particular trip, the biggest issue was lunch on ski days. We had planned to go back to the condo for lunch, but we ended up grabbing food at the ski lodge instead of taking the time to get over to the condo and back. We kept it to $20 each day on the two days that there were 3 of us (one being a teenage boy) because we supplemented with snacks, but if we had skied over to the condo and back, we had enough food there (which we did bring home so it has mostly been eaten by now). The first day conditions were too windy for me to take the blue runs back to the condo, but I could have done it the second day. The third day we had the little kids with us, and they couldn't do that run either, so we skied to the pizza place and spent over $40 for all 5 of us. Ouch. Lunches on ski days were definitely the biggest culprit. We did eat every breakfast and dinner at the condo though, so I consider that to be pretty good compared to last year! I think we'll either try to plan our lodging better for ski in/ski out at lunch, or plan the quick lunch in our budget next time.

Usually on road trips we bring a picnic and eat at a park, but the weather was not conducive to that this time, so we stopped to eat twice each way. 500 miles with three kids is a LONG day! We have definitely dialed in the snacks/drinks though by bringing them with us, which has not always been the case. I feel pretty good about the massive savings over last year even if we went over just a bit.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on February 28, 2017, 10:07:12 AM
Hey jillinsandiego, sounds like you've got a plan for next year's ski trip!  Skiing seems like a sport that can be spendy enough on its own, so if you can dial it back even a little through careful planning, then good for you!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on February 28, 2017, 11:09:33 AM
YTD grocery spend 510

Add in the half a cow at 120

our spend is at 630 for the year or 315 a month on avg. 

restaruant spend is at 238 on the year or 120 a month.  so overall our rest + grocery spend is now lower than our grocery alone was last year.  but we've cut alcohol considerably. 

this is for 2 adults that eat high protien low carb diets.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on February 28, 2017, 11:15:49 AM
Hey jillinsandiego, sounds like you've got a plan for next year's ski trip!  Skiing seems like a sport that can be spendy enough on its own, so if you can dial it back even a little through careful planning, then good for you!

PJ, that's for sure! We opted for Brian Head as opposed to Mammoth, which would have cost 2.5 times as much (between lift tickets, rentals, and lodging), so we are definitely considering all options to spend wisely. It's something we enjoy, but we want to make it as frugal as possible. My daughter's goodwill snow boots from last year ($5.99 as opposed to $40+ new) still fit, and we have great hand-me down snow clothing from a friend for the kids, so that helps too. Like anything else, it can be as spendy an activity as you're willing to make it, or there are ways to save here and there.

Back to food, I packed a lunch today, my husband is going home at lunch to eat leftovers, and we have other leftovers/scrounging for dinner tonight. We leave Thursday for 3 nights in Vegas, but we won't be feeding the teenager at least since his food is included in the rugby tournament fee. Shooting for $1200 in March, but will be happy if I can get it back under $1100 like we did in January.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: afuera on February 28, 2017, 01:30:56 PM
Total grocery spend for the month= $421.91

Ugh! Considering I had a goal of $250, this number looks real bad at face value. Since I actually kept track of every single thing we bought this month as well as the cost/unit I'm able to see that we actually stocked up on a lot and hopefully, the following months totals will be much lower.
We stocked up on:
Chicken Breast- 33lbs @ $0.97/lb= $33 (ate ~5 lbs so far).
Quinoa- 15 lbs @ $1.73/lb = $26 (ate none so far, this will last months!).
Frozen Fruit - 6 lbs @ $1.8/lb = $11 (about 2 month supply).
Olive Oil - 70 oz @0.17/oz = $12 (usually lasts 3+ months)
Ziploc, Gallon & Quart = $23 (we won't have to buy plastic bags for well over a year, used mostly for freezing raw meat).
Nexium for Hubs - 42 count = $24 (1.5 months)

Also, $98.74 of our spending was just on fancy pants backyard crawfish boils (23 lbs plus the seasoning, potatoes, corn, and butter) which would have cost 3X more at a restaurant.*  Considering all of that I am not feeling too bad about our total and I learned a lot about the pricing of our staples at certain stores near us (One store had a "great sale" but it turns out Aldi's regular price was half of the sale price...).  We are starting to learn more recipes and trying to plan meals around sale items i.e. Brussel sprouts and pears were on super sale one week so we stocked up and made this: https://www.budgetbytes.com/2016/11/warm-brussels-sprouts-and-pear-salad/ which was delicious!!  I even made my own hummus for this first time this month also and I am never going back to expensive pre-made hummus again!
Overall, I' m looking forward to next month and eating down the pantry/freezer a bit.

*My husband made me a spreadsheet showing the projected lbs of crawfish he planned on eating this year, how much per lb he would save on crawfish by buying raw and cooking it himself and how much per oz he would save on beer by drinking at home instead of at a restaurant.  His break-even point after buying a $50 stainless pot was mid-march...
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on February 28, 2017, 07:46:03 PM
My final total for the month is $340. January was $635 (ouch), so we're just under $500/mo average. Helped by the fact that I couldn't make it to Costco today. But I feel like we're starting to get into a groove, replacing spendier stuff with cheaper stuff and things like that.

My current goal is $500/mo, but I'm hoping we can get closer to $400/mo with some practice. Still not amazing for only 2 people, but I'd be okay with that level of spending I think.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 01, 2017, 01:20:53 AM
My challenge for today is that I need to deliver a package at the expensive store that has a post office. And I need to do shopping. Very tempting to use that shop instead of the cheaper one. What I can do is look around for the articles that the cheaper store doesn't have and see whether the more expensive shop has them. And then driving the small stretch to the other shop.
Or even better idea: Parc at one of the shops and walk to the other! Then I get some exercise and don't have to start the car for driving a tiny bit. That is probably the best plan. :-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Guava on March 01, 2017, 06:31:28 AM
Final grocery spend in February was $219. I am not reaching my goal but still lower than last year.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Shelley on March 01, 2017, 08:44:25 PM
I'm new, and want to join in! Our groceries have been averaging $303 Australian a week for the last 6 months. I want to cut that in half. I've spent the last three days organizing meal plans for two weeks that we can alternate, and for food only that comes in at $111 approx per week. So I have $39 left for cleaning, toiletries and pet food.

We won't start that till the cupboard is a bit more empty though. For now I've allowed $75 a week for , bread and milk. Everything else is coming out of the cupboard. Last week was $79 because of bacon being on special so I bought extra.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 01, 2017, 10:49:55 PM
Welcome shellyvdp! 

If I remember right, you posted recently somewhere else (Welcome?  Case Studies?)  Glad to have you join us in Gauntlets too!  I haven't checked the "Eat All the Food in Your House" thread yet, but if you want to join us there as you try to eat down the stockpile a bit, you can get extra special help to use up the weird and random ingredients you may have stashed away!

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on March 02, 2017, 12:23:05 PM
My family's total for Feb was $718, overshooting my goal of $600 for the month.  With restaurants, our total for food was $791. However, I feel pretty good about it, considering that this included a purchase of forty boxes of pasta at $0.69/lb (best sale I've seen around here in a long time), fifteen cans of crushed/diced tomatoes at $0.88/28 oz,  a 5 day ski trip, our turn providing snacks for youth group, our turn to host coffee hour at church, the fridge breaking down several times, and a pizza party with 15 children and parents. 

I'm fairly confident I can do $150/week, or better, for March. We have been much more conscientious about eating or freezing leftovers. Finally, I have the new thermostat for our fridge and will fix it this weekend!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Shelley on March 02, 2017, 04:08:40 PM
Welcome shellyvdp! 

If I remember right, you posted recently somewhere else (Welcome?  Case Studies?)  Glad to have you join us in Gauntlets too!  I haven't checked the "Eat All the Food in Your House" thread yet, but if you want to join us there as you try to eat down the stockpile a bit, you can get extra special help to use up the weird and random ingredients you may have stashed away!

Thanks PJ, I'll definitely have to go find that thread. Last nights dinner was delicious, 1 1/2 cups red lentils, 1 chicken breast, can tomatoes and a sachet of smoky BBQ taco seasoning. Add water and chuck in the slow cooker. It was amazing!!!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: tyrannostache on March 03, 2017, 11:04:25 AM
shelleyvdp, that sounds tasty!

We are brand new to the forum and JUST starting to budget more thoughtfully, taking baby steps toward getting our spending on track. Our grocery/household items spending for January was waaay out of whack, somewhere around $1000 for a family of 3 (2 adults, 1 kid). I blame a combination of thoughtless Costco trips, poor meal planning, lunch out, a long weekend out of town, wasteful use of leftovers, throwing a dinner party, and me being in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Regardless, seeing that huge number was like a punch in the gut.

So we are starting by doing better planning, eating down the pantry and freezer, and generally being more mindful. So far, we have done pretty well in February. The goal for this month was to bring all food spending down to $600, and we'll come in just a hair under. Still, I'm sure we can do better. For March, it's ON. Goal: $450


Results are in for February, and we did pretty well compared to January! About $520 total for groceries and $70 for restaurants, including a long-overdue date night. I only ate lunch out twice--previously, that was more like 2-3 times per week. We also reduced our food waste considerably. The fridge looks a little more bare, but that's a good thing. It means we don't have leftovers hanging around getting lost and moldy.

My goal for March is to bring groceries to $450 and pack a lunch to work every day. I'm planning to switch back to dry beans and do more lentil dishes. We still have some cupboard excess to work through, but it's getting better.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Epor on March 03, 2017, 11:05:18 AM
Hello everybody. I'm quite new here - I have a few questions (and apologies if this is not the correct thread)

Breadmaker/Bread - I own one and would like to use it more.
   Any recipes for sprouted flour bread?
   I also would like to make pizza dough in it, I just need some help from someone that actually uses it.
   Yeast: which one to buy? Aldi has some pre-packaged envelope ones, but i'm not sure if that is enough for a 2lb loaf, or even if is the correct yeast to use.
   Is it true I can only have a good loaf if I use breadflour?

Crockpots - I own a gigantic one - gift from my mil. When I use it we get lots of leftovers that my husband rarely touches. It gets boring after a few meals. Do you think I should get a smaller crockpot? I'm afraid if I do not fill "up to the line" the big one will crack or something.

Kids - I have a 10yo boy and a 7yo girl. I pack their lunches daily (except if they are having pizza at school - then they want hot lunch :)). Usual lunch is sandwich with salami+colby cheese, cheese string and some fruit (clementines/cuties are a favorite). Any other ideas would be appreciated.

Thank you


Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 03, 2017, 01:09:38 PM
Hi Eporedia, and welcome to the forums!

Ask away!  I'm sure I speak for us all when I say that any cooking/shopping related questions are welcome.

I doubt that making smaller meals in the crockpot would be a problem, but I have a small one and use it rarely, so will leave that for others to address.

Where I can probably be of more help is with the breadmaker.  I don't have a recipe for sprouted flour bread, but I did go through a phase where I made all my own bread, pretty much.  I've slacked off the last couple years, but have been thinking about trying to start doing it again. 

So, I've not made pizza dough, but I've used a bunch of other recipes for bread or bread type products that you start in the bread machine and finish in the oven.  Including (once!) bagels.  Which were good, but a fair amount of work.  They had to be shaped, rise, boiled, flipped in the boiling water, but not left too long, then taken out, brushed with egg, sprinkled with stuff, and finally, baked.  Yummy.  But time consuming.  I assume pizza dough would be much easier.  If you have specific questions about a recipe, let us know - I'm sure someone will be able to help you figure it out. 

Also, re: yeast.  I've had good luck with Fleischmann's, and never found a significant difference between their regular yeast and their bread making yeast.  I'm sure any other brand of yeast would be fine.  But I would suggest that if you're planning to use your bread machine regularly, that you consider buying yeast in jars rather than envelopes.  I found that more cost effective.  According to one website: 

Typically, one envelope of dry yeast contains 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. This package is also equal to one 0.6-ounce cake of fresh yeast. One envelope of yeast is usually enough for a loaf of bread made with 4 cups of flour.

Bread flour is fine, plain white flour is fine, whole wheat flour is good.  Rye, buckwheat, soy and other flours all can also be used, at least in part.  Plus things like oatmeal, and corn meal.  For health and variety and taste, I would absolutely encourage you to work with a variety of flours and meals.  I tended to make everything at least partly whole wheat, and preferred the recipes I found in bread machine cookbooks to the ones that came with the machine.  It's been a while, but I still have the cookbooks, so let me know what kind of stuff your family likes, and I can dig out the books to give you a couple of recipes that I've tried and enjoyed.  Might motivate me to make something too, eh?

Also, if you've used your bread machine in the past, I'm sure you've realized that it produces bigger slices of bread.  So you may end up eating a little bit more bread.  Or you can use one thick slice of bread, cut in half, to make a sandwich with.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Guava on March 03, 2017, 01:39:14 PM
I have been using this pizza dough recipe. I don't have a bread maker but it is very easy to make by hand. I use envelope yeast, don't remember the brand.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pizza-dough-recipe
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Drole on March 03, 2017, 01:55:30 PM

Crockpots - I own a gigantic one - gift from my mil. When I use it we get lots of leftovers that my husband rarely touches. It gets boring after a few meals.

Freeze into lunch ready containers so you don't have to eat it all back to back.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Benny3 on March 03, 2017, 02:56:51 PM
So my February numbers are in and we spent $239.71.  This was mostly on stock up meat sale prices, milk and bread.  Under my $250/ goal and much less than January ($601). I should only have to buy veggies, fruit and milk for awhile so I am hoping for around $150 for the month of March.   Now, before I start patting myself on the back we also spent $101 on dining/take out pizza.

The big budget buster in February was our "date night".  Once a year we go out to a fine dining restaurant to celebrate our anniversary.  So while the tab was quite steep ($285), we do budget for it all year and it is literally the ONE night a year we go out as a couple. We know this isn't very Moustachian but we would rather go out one night a year for a 5 star meal then Applebee's or something similar, once a month.  I know I may get face punched for the cost of it but we look forward to this night and celebrating our anniversary all year long.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Shelley on March 03, 2017, 09:03:20 PM
Pizza dough recipe - I've used this one for years, I don't bother with the cornmeal or the seasoning. Makes three large pizzas if you roll thin, and it puffs up nicely. I put the oven on the hottest it can go.

http://www.food.com/recipe/my-best-ever-breadmaker-pizza-dough-50101
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Shelley on March 03, 2017, 09:05:27 PM
My average shop has been $303 a week pre-mmm. The last two weeks we've been clearing the cupboard, last week was $79 as bacon was on special, the plan is to keep it under $75 a week while we are doing the pantry clear out. Today's shop was $74.90, hooray!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 03, 2017, 10:56:08 PM
Hey, Eporedia,

I posted this in another thread, but I'll say it again here for your sake.  I am totally stripping my grocery budget to the bone this month, to hit a certain milestone on paying down my CC debt.  So I will be making some bread machine bread, for sure.  We can be partners in it! 

Again, do let me know if you want any tried and true recipes, and if so, what kind of stuff you have on hand and what kind of stuff your family likes.  I've got several bread machine cookbooks and have tried a bunch of recipes in them, and have often even made notes so I will remember which Oatmeal Bread is the best, or which Molasses Bread I like.  Mmm.  Molasses Bread!  :-)

shelleyvdp, great job on hitting your target this week.  Wow, squeaked in under the wire, eh?  Keep up the good work!

Benny3, I don't remember if I've read any of your "story" before, so apologies for not having the background info on your story.  I was just thinking that no one is likely to face punch you for one special dinner out for your anniversary.  (The extra $100 in dining and fast food, maybe, but not the anniversary dinner!)  Anyway, sounds like you are also making great forward progress.  That's a big month over month drop! 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on March 04, 2017, 06:16:53 AM
If you have a Dutch Oven, the following bread recipe is really easy. It does not require kneading, just easy stirring with a spoon.  Furthermore, it uses only 1/4 tsp yeast for a good-sized loaf! The main requirement is planning... it rises overnight on the counter.

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11376-no-knead-bread
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 04, 2017, 08:07:36 AM
I found one very old tea bag with Enlish Breakfast tea. The tea tasted normal and I used up old food.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on March 04, 2017, 04:48:55 PM
First shop of the month is done, I hit two stores and spend a whopping $103 between the two. This is kind of a regular pattern with me - stock up on all the things at the start of the month, then I do smaller trips during the rest of the month, just grabbing the things that are on particularly good sales, produce, and the few things I'm out of. It works out well enough even though it sometimes makes me a bit uneasy to have spent a disproportionately high portion of my monthly budget right off the bat.

Anyway, I stocked up on ground turkey (9lbs @$2/lb), frozen stir fry vegetables @.80 a bag (on sale and e-coupon), lunch meat, cheese, bread, green tea (3 boxes of 20 for 1.49 ea!), produce, yogurt... I stocked up on granola bars since we like to have the fancy organic pre-packaged ones to take when we go hiking. They had some Kashi bars we like a lot, I was about to buy the large boxes of 10 for 3.99 each, then I saw they had boxes of 6 for 1.99 each... duh! Got the smaller ones. And some other fancy nut bars were 4.99 for a box of 12, I got 2 boxes - took a risk since we haven't had that kind before but they looked good, ate one when I got home and they are fantastic, yay :) I also bought a package of cheap chicken breast (1.49/lb) even though my freezer is already full of chicken breast, but I wanted to cook some up this weekend so I can portion it out and have it ready for salads for my work lunches, so instead of taking several portions that I had already nicely packaged into single meal increments out of the freezer to thaw, it was easier to just buy a fresh package at the store and throw it straight into the oven when I got home.

RE: Breadmaker and pizza dough - Before my breadmaker died I regularly used it to make pizza dough and it worked like a champ, just throw your ingredients in, and set it to the dough setting. Just remember it takes a couple of hours so you have to plan ahead. The recipe I use makes enough for two thin crusts, so I would always separate the dough when it was done, make 1 pizza that night, and freeze the other dough ball for next week's pizza night. I just thawed the frozen dough in the fridge overnight, then let it sit out to warm up for a little bit before making the second pizza (although I often forgot that last step and just rolled it out while it was still cold, it just took a few more minutes to roll it out).

As for yeast, you can use those packets but it is WAY more expensive that way. I'm not sure where you live, but if you can find a store that has a bulk bin section that carries yeast it is way cheaper that way. I don't have a store that carries bulk yeast near me, but my parents do (WinCo), so when I visit them once a year or so, I will buy a ton of yeast and once I get home I just store it in the fridge.

Here's the Pizza Dough Recipe I use: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/46595/amazing-whole-wheat-pizza-crust/
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Well Respected Man on March 04, 2017, 07:59:25 PM
shelleyvdp  - was your previous $300/week grocery spend including lots of household items, or prepared meals, or was it more restaurant spending? How man people? Congrats on chopping that by 75%!

I saw pork shoulder for $0.77/lb. today, and didn't pull the trigger, because:

a) it wasn't on the list
b) I'm not buying meat until our meat stores are depleted, because we're eating more vegan meals these days
c) it's still on sale until Thursday

Should I go back and buy one? I think I have room in the freezer for the whole thing, and definitely for portioned leftovers. In the past, I've done 3-4 meals in the same week from the same shoulder, but I think that will no longer work. But I think slow cooking it, or half of it, then freezing portions would work.

We have two fridges, and I'm considering making a run at consolidating to one. DW may resist, so we'll see. I won't broach the subject until our meat stores are depleted and freezers are cleaned out. Both fridges are looking pretty empty these days, so I guess I'm doing something right.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: LindseyC on March 05, 2017, 09:02:38 AM
I had a great shop yesterday and today.

Yesterday I bought my SO two special glass bottle pops he really enjoys. They were on sale for .88 cents, they usually are close to $2. At the same time there was an in store "game" and I won a loofah and a bag of candy. Not a healthy shop, but not bad for less than $2.

Today at the grocery store I price matched some bags of cat food, got some healthy foods all on sale, and some cheese. The total cost was $31.98. I used $30 in free points. Received back $1.20 in points so my whole shop cost me .78 cents. :) I also managed to score some really excellent coupons they had just put up around the store (not something they normally do) so I now have a little collection of coupons to work into my frugal shops and they are great coupons for items I would normally purchase.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on March 05, 2017, 10:29:51 AM
Third time's a charm! I finally successfully made this bread: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/tuscan-style-bread-with-herbs-recipe

So yummy! And half the price of the half-priced clearance loaves I usually buy at the grocery store :) Next step is to start buying the big bags of flour from Costco instead of the little bags that cost over twice as much per pound. I wanted to make sure I got the hang of it and would do it enough to not end up wasting a bunch of a big bag.

How do people store large amounts of flour? Should I get a bucket with a lid or something? I was thinking about rolling the bag up tightly and putting it in a plastic storage bin in the basement. Would that work?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on March 05, 2017, 12:47:03 PM
Well, two steps forward, one step back, as usual.  The win is that this discussion has inspired me to go through the freezer and pull out miscellaneous stuff to put together into meals.  So my Aldi's shop was all of $40 (and $12 of that was stocking up on bangers I found last week that were freaking delicious).  The bad part is that between my traveling and hurting my back, we probably dropped $70-75 on takeout this past week (I don't know actual figures because DH did 2 of 3).  I am hoping my back will let me get back up and cook this week so we can do better.  But overall the total was still in line with the budget, and we are wasting less food, so that is trending in the right direction, at least.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 05, 2017, 02:57:45 PM
Third time's a charm! I finally successfully made this bread: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/tuscan-style-bread-with-herbs-recipe

So yummy! And half the price of the half-priced clearance loaves I usually buy at the grocery store :) Next step is to start buying the big bags of flour from Costco instead of the little bags that cost over twice as much per pound. I wanted to make sure I got the hang of it and would do it enough to not end up wasting a bunch of a big bag.

How do people store large amounts of flour? Should I get a bucket with a lid or something? I was thinking about rolling the bag up tightly and putting it in a plastic storage bin in the basement. Would that work?

I may not be good with storing my yeast away (sorry - is that discussion from the other thread, Eat All the Food?) but I do have opinions about flour.  White flour isn't a big deal, to keep around for a while, but I have had whole wheat flour go a bit off.  I try to be careful how much of that I buy at once, and I keep it in my fridge.  If the basement is cool enough, that may work too.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: tyrannostache on March 05, 2017, 03:42:01 PM
Our first shopping trip of the month was a little above target at $130 or so between 3 stores. We did spend $30 stocking up on meat that should last all month at the very least, so I'm hopeful that we can keep it simple for the rest of March.

For me, one of the most satisfying parts about changing our habits is reducing waste. We made a failed (dry, tasteless) pork roast a few days ago (unusual! DH is usually an amazing cook). In the past, that probably would have ended up as dog treats. Today, it's going into soup. Baby steps...
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Hotstreak on March 05, 2017, 11:06:03 PM
First grocery trip of the month today, $28.  I bought enough meat and vegetables for lunch and dinner all week, excluding two or three protein shakes and some leftover soup.  Including the cost of those I think I'll be in around $35 consumed for the week, assuming no more shopping.  On track for $300 for this month.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on March 06, 2017, 08:38:07 AM
82.25 CDN so far. We were able to get ground beef for 3.67 a lb, which is the cheapest you can get around here, so I got a couple of big packs and divided for the freezer. Otherwise, mostly fruit and veggies. I'm going to be concentrating on using things up that Hubby doesn't like as he is out of town for work all week. Not planning on any more shopping trips until probably the 15th or so.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on March 06, 2017, 08:45:53 AM
dang thats expensive GB.  ours is 1.69US right now. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on March 06, 2017, 08:55:13 AM
dang thats expensive GB.  ours is 1.69US right now.

Yeah, whenever I think about the food prices I just tell myself we don't have the medical costs. It helps.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on March 06, 2017, 08:58:21 AM
dang thats expensive GB.  ours is 1.69US right now.

Yeah, whenever I think about the food prices I just tell myself we don't have the medical costs. It helps.

what percent of your income do you pay in taxes? arent you paying for your medical costs that way?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on March 06, 2017, 09:12:13 AM
dang thats expensive GB.  ours is 1.69US right now.

Yeah, whenever I think about the food prices I just tell myself we don't have the medical costs. It helps.

what percent of your income do you pay in taxes? arent you paying for your medical costs that way?

Oh probably, but I don't like to frame things in my head that way, I'd just be depressed.

Provincial: 5.06% on the first $38,898 of taxable income, +
7.7% on the next $38,899, +
10.5% on the next $11,523, +
12.29% on the next $19,140, +
14.7% on the amount over $108,460

Federal:
15% on the first $45,916 of taxable income, +
20.5% on the next $45,915 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $45,916 up to $91,831), +
26% on the next $50,522 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $91,831 up to $142,353), +
29% on the next $60,447 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $142,353 up to $202,800), +
33% of taxable income over $202,800.

I don;t know how that compares to the US, I haven't looked.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Epor on March 06, 2017, 10:35:58 AM
Oh wow! I'm super happy to have all of you trying to help - this really feel like a community!

PJ, This weekend I picked a book from the library about bread machine making and it had some recipes, including pizza dough and some whole grains etc. I was going to give it a try yesterday but found that my yeast was over a yr old - and I did not want to drive 25 min to the next store just for that. The book mentions that I should use fast-rising/quick rise yeast, so I'll get that and look for Fleischmann's brand as you suggested. (after a few tries I'll try to look to buy in bulk.)

I'm at work today and will pick that up on my lunch break. I'll get the bread going before I leave tomorrow, and I'll check when I get home. I'm just happy I know someone that used the machine successfully. :). I would love to partner up. My main goals for the break maker are (besides healthy and cheaper bread):
  1. Basic: Everyday good bread.
  2. Intermediate: Make calzones for quick lunch/dinner for kids and hubby
  3. Master: Try some bakery hard crust bread with rosemary, olives etc (those that cost over 5 dollars a pop)
  4. Legendary: SOURDOUGH bread. (My absolute favorite bread)

I'll keep you updated.

Guava and shelleyvdp - thanks for the dough link! I want to try and make some calzones with it and freeze for a quick meal for the kids that is not full of preservatives. Husband will appreciate that as well, I'm sure.

Drole - I like the idea of freezing meal size portions - especially when I get home from work and do not want to cook for everybody. I'll try that for sure.

Poundwise - I do not own a Dutch oven, do you use yours a lot?

DTaggart - You made dough! I copied the recipe and will try this weekend, I'll compare the recipe with the ones Guava and shelleyvdp linked. I bet they are mostly similar.

Ebrat - That is exactly the type of bread I want to master! Very tasty perfect to eat with soup or stew. Thank you for the link!

Again, thank you everybody - you sure made me feel welcome.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on March 06, 2017, 10:41:07 AM
dang thats expensive GB.  ours is 1.69US right now.

Yeah, whenever I think about the food prices I just tell myself we don't have the medical costs. It helps.

what percent of your income do you pay in taxes? arent you paying for your medical costs that way?

Oh probably, but I don't like to frame things in my head that way, I'd just be depressed.

Provincial: 5.06% on the first $38,898 of taxable income, +
7.7% on the next $38,899, +
10.5% on the next $11,523, +
12.29% on the next $19,140, +
14.7% on the amount over $108,460

Federal:
15% on the first $45,916 of taxable income, +
20.5% on the next $45,915 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $45,916 up to $91,831), +
26% on the next $50,522 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $91,831 up to $142,353), +
29% on the next $60,447 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $142,353 up to $202,800), +
33% of taxable income over $202,800.

I don;t know how that compares to the US, I haven't looked.

yeah those are both higher ... your province being extremely higher my state is basically 6% on everything over 6k ...  but thats how you get public services.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on March 06, 2017, 12:03:04 PM
Well, we are quite a bit over so far this month because of my son's rugby tournament in Vegas, but we did a pretty good job of minimizing our food spending and it should even out later this month. I didn't have a single alcoholic drink (or anything but water and a cheap, plain coffee each morning, with a discount for bringing my own cup), and we didn't get any food on the way home in the car at ALL. We did get snacks at the grocery store while we were in Vegas, but didn't have a fridge in our room so it was mostly non-perishable or food we could eat right away. We aren't going anywhere else this month so I'm looking forward to eating at home and from scratch the rest of the month.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 06, 2017, 12:59:09 PM
I think I've managed to cut the grocery shopping almost in half by being conscience about it. But it difficult to compare, because we have been eating some from the freezer and I've bought a big amount of vaccuum packed cheese.
Changes done: shopping at cheaper shop, using a customer program that gives discount, using a cash back credit card, buying bulk on sale and consequently comparing kilo prices. Also choosing other alternatives when a certain vegetable is too expensive. Sometimes I buy fish (cod) because it is cheaper per kilo than meat. And probably healthier as well.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 06, 2017, 02:04:07 PM
I think I've managed to cut the grocery shopping almost in half by being conscience about it. But it difficult to compare, because we have been eating some from the freezer and I've bought a big amount of vaccuum packed cheese.
Changes done: shopping at cheaper shop, using a customer program that gives discount, using a cash back credit card, buying bulk on sale and consequently comparing kilo prices. Also choosing other alternatives when a certain vegetable is too expensive. Sometimes I buy fish (cod) because it is cheaper per kilo than meat. And probably healthier as well. 

I saw someone put a great post once, in an Ask a Mustachian or Case Study type thread that was asking for grocery bill help.  I wish I had made a note of it somewhere, because it was so simple and succinct, but covered all the bases.  I've tried to re-create the post for other similar threads, but I don't remember it exactly.  Anyway, I do remember they said that cutting your grocery bill boils down to 4 things, and I hope I've got them right:

1.  Changing where you shop - finding cheaper stores, basically.
2.  Changing the way you shop - strategically buying in bulk, price matching, shopping sales, using coupons, etc
3.  Changing what you buy - eating less meat, substituting cheaper ingredients for more expensive ones, etc.
4.  Reducing waste - keeping your stock in rotation and using everything before it expires, using the parts many people throw away - like carrot tops, or bones, or broccoli stems, etc.

Sounds like you've got all those things covered, Linda_Norway!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Epor on March 07, 2017, 07:18:32 AM
Hey, Eporedia,

I posted this in another thread, but I'll say it again here for your sake.  I am totally stripping my grocery budget to the bone this month, to hit a certain milestone on paying down my CC debt.  So I will be making some bread machine bread, for sure.  We can be partners in it! 

Again, do let me know if you want any tried and true recipes, and if so, what kind of stuff you have on hand and what kind of stuff your family likes.  I've got several bread machine cookbooks and have tried a bunch of recipes in them, and have often even made notes so I will remember which Oatmeal Bread is the best, or which Molasses Bread I like.  Mmm.  Molasses Bread!  :-)



Hello PJ, I made my first loaf with the new machine yesterday after work. Used 4 cups of sprouted flour, quick rise yeast and put on whole-wheat setting. After the first kneeling i checked the dough ball and looked dry, so i added another tablespoon of water.

Results: The bread did not rise as much as I was hoping, but was still soft and delicious! I had a warm piece last night with butter and I liked it. I had another this morning with spinach and egg for breakfast - oh so yummy. I still have like 10 lbs of sprouted bread flour, so I have to use all that up. This weekend I'll make the pizza dough, I'll keep you posted.




Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: tyrannostache on March 07, 2017, 08:23:23 AM
Maybe this speaks to overspending last year, but I just discovered that we'll cover more than 1/2 of our grocery costs this month with rebates from our Costco Chase card.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 07, 2017, 11:26:19 AM
Hey, Eporedia,

I posted this in another thread, but I'll say it again here for your sake.  I am totally stripping my grocery budget to the bone this month, to hit a certain milestone on paying down my CC debt.  So I will be making some bread machine bread, for sure.  We can be partners in it! 

Again, do let me know if you want any tried and true recipes, and if so, what kind of stuff you have on hand and what kind of stuff your family likes.  I've got several bread machine cookbooks and have tried a bunch of recipes in them, and have often even made notes so I will remember which Oatmeal Bread is the best, or which Molasses Bread I like.  Mmm.  Molasses Bread!  :-)



Hello PJ, I made my first loaf with the new machine yesterday after work. Used 4 cups of sprouted flour, quick rise yeast and put on whole-wheat setting. After the first kneeling i checked the dough ball and looked dry, so i added another tablespoon of water.

Results: The bread did not rise as much as I was hoping, but was still soft and delicious! I had a warm piece last night with butter and I liked it. I had another this morning with spinach and egg for breakfast - oh so yummy. I still have like 10 lbs of sprouted bread flour, so I have to use all that up. This weekend I'll make the pizza dough, I'll keep you posted. 

There are lots of things that can affect the rising (including needing a bit more water, but I would also keep some notes about stuff like that.  Some recipes just seem to make higher-rising loaves than others, which is something I want to remember when deciding which loaf to make next time.  No point in making a small loaf, no matter how delicious, when I am completely out of bread and really need that loaf to last a long time.  On that occasion, I'll choose to make a higher rising loaf. 

So yes, my recipe books are littered with little comments like "didn't rise much" or "rose so high it smooshed on the lid!"
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: AustinHorn on March 08, 2017, 07:21:00 AM
Alright - I'm posting to follow this thread as this is an area where I know I  need to cut down and can with more effort and planning.  I'm about to update my Quickbooks for the year, so when I do, I'll post my grocery spend for February so you all can laugh at me and give me the proper motivation to do better for the rest of the year - ha!

EDIT:  My goal right now is $90/week ($390 per average month) but I've probably been much closer to $115/week ($500 per average month).  I'm a single dad shopping for myself and my two young children who are at my house 50% of the time.  So however you want to look at it, we have 1 full time adult/2 half-time children, or the equivalent of 1 full time child or 1 half-time adult?  I'll just go ahead and stop right there.  Regardless, I'm looking forward to getting this more under control and learning alot of tips from you guys to help in the process!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on March 08, 2017, 09:02:56 AM
Ebrat - That is exactly the type of bread I want to master! Very tasty perfect to eat with soup or stew. Thank you for the link!

Glad it was useful! I found I had to add a little extra flour and knead it longer (my initial kneading attempts were kind of lame) to get it to keep its shape. It makes a huge loaf! I'm going to make it again tomorrow and try splitting it into 2 loaves.

I saw someone put a great post once, in an Ask a Mustachian or Case Study type thread that was asking for grocery bill help.  I wish I had made a note of it somewhere, because it was so simple and succinct, but covered all the bases.  I've tried to re-create the post for other similar threads, but I don't remember it exactly.  Anyway, I do remember they said that cutting your grocery bill boils down to 4 things, and I hope I've got them right:

1.  Changing where you shop - finding cheaper stores, basically.
2.  Changing the way you shop - strategically buying in bulk, price matching, shopping sales, using coupons, etc
3.  Changing what you buy - eating less meat, substituting cheaper ingredients for more expensive ones, etc.
4.  Reducing waste - keeping your stock in rotation and using everything before it expires, using the parts many people throw away - like carrot tops, or bones, or broccoli stems, etc.


This is a great list! Succinct but really covers everything. I think we've made a little progress in each of these areas. Maybe I'll use the rest of the month to really hone in on 1 of them. Not sure which one yet though :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: alleykat on March 08, 2017, 09:21:31 AM
I think I am finally getting a handle on what I buy and bring home.  It has been great.  I don't keep a total per month but think I will start keeping tabs in April.  I use to be extremely wasteful.  Always too much stuff to get through.  But now, no. I might have a tiny bit of waste here and there but it has been great.  I still have stuff to get through, but I love finishing what I buy and not being overwhelmed by it all.  No more forgotten items in the back of the fridge.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 08, 2017, 10:36:18 AM
I saw someone put a great post once, in an Ask a Mustachian or Case Study type thread that was asking for grocery bill help.  I wish I had made a note of it somewhere, because it was so simple and succinct, but covered all the bases.  I've tried to re-create the post for other similar threads, but I don't remember it exactly.  Anyway, I do remember they said that cutting your grocery bill boils down to 4 things, and I hope I've got them right:

1.  Changing where you shop - finding cheaper stores, basically.
2.  Changing the way you shop - strategically buying in bulk, price matching, shopping sales, using coupons, etc
3.  Changing what you buy - eating less meat, substituting cheaper ingredients for more expensive ones, etc.
4.  Reducing waste - keeping your stock in rotation and using everything before it expires, using the parts many people throw away - like carrot tops, or bones, or broccoli stems, etc.

This is a great list! Succinct but really covers everything. I think we've made a little progress in each of these areas. Maybe I'll use the rest of the month to really hone in on 1 of them. Not sure which one yet though :)

Thanks!  Like I said, I can't really take credit.  But when I read the original post, I thought that it was one of those posts that should be saved as a classic somewhere. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: AustinHorn on March 08, 2017, 10:54:01 AM
Does anybody here keep a price book?  And if so, what do you use - spreadsheet, app, something else?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Shelley on March 08, 2017, 01:46:29 PM
My price book is not so much to compare prices as I shop but to work out my meal plan pricing. It's in my meal plan spreadsheet, down one side and I have for example Bread, 2 slices, $.20. Beef mince premium, 100 grams, $1.37. Then I can refer to it using formulas in my spreadsheets. I can print it out and write in the new prices when I go shopping, then change anything I need to, or shop elsewhere if it's too expensive.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 08, 2017, 03:06:27 PM
Sorry, my "price book" is all inside my head.  Like, I know that Kraft Peanut Butter cycles on sale for $3.99 pretty regularly at some store or another (and I shop at Walmart and price match, so can get any store's sale prices.)  But I also know that it occasionally goes on for $2.99, so I buy enough then to last.

Same with my 2 preferred brands of bread.  They are almost $3 regular price, but usually one or the other is on sale 2 for $5 somewhere, so I can almost always price match bread at that slightly lower price.  But then occasionally they go down to $1.99 each, or even (rarely) $1.88.

Cream for my coffee is almost $3 for a litre, but sometimes $2.50 or $1.99.  I try to grab it when on sale, especially at the lower price, even if I don't need it *quite* yet.  I also have a vague idea of good prices for less staple items, like canned soup or baked beans and so on.

I know some people get enough value out of calculating exactly which things go on the lowest price at what frequency, and so on, or which stores are best to shop at for this category of food or the other.  But as a single person, with price matching and strong convenience factor (including gas savings since it's on my way home) pointing me to shopping at Walmart, this works as well as it needs to for me.  I don't think, for me, the benefits of optimizing to the smallest degree would be worth the extra time of record keeping.  But of course, YMMV, especially if you have a bigger family.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on March 08, 2017, 03:14:41 PM
i have a brain and i log prices in it.  i know numbers and i know whati buy so when things go on super sale i buy alot of them. if its an avg sale i pass.  its a pretty simple policy if you have a knack for remembering numbers. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Hotstreak on March 08, 2017, 03:30:18 PM
i have a brain and i log prices in it.  i know numbers and i know whati buy so when things go on super sale i buy alot of them. if its an avg sale i pass.  its a pretty simple policy if you have a knack for remembering numbers.


I am the same way.  I feel that keeping an extensive price book would be a poor use of time - but keeping a mental log of prices for my top 10-20 grocery items, and also keeping in mind that certain stores are always cheaper for certain items, I am able to get most of the benefit.  For example Winco has the cheapest canned goods & bulk dried food, so I buy those there.  They have the lowest AVERAGE produce cost (similar to Walmart around here, but higher quality), but I rarely see sales & when I do it's because the produce is inferior and I don't want to buy it anyways.  So I shop for those at Kroger and only buy what's on sale.


If I bought all the same goods for a family of 8, I would probably keep a price book.  It would be the same amount of work to keep one for myself, but the payout would be significantly higher.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on March 08, 2017, 08:13:13 PM
Same, I have "target" prices of the things we use regularly in my head. If I can't get it at my target price, I usually don't get it. If its on sale for way less than my target price, I'll stock up. There are certain items that I know will regularly go on sale at a particular store for a particular price, so I stock up when that happens.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Well Respected Man on March 08, 2017, 08:30:36 PM
I've started a price book in a spreadsheet, which has mostly staples. I will add items that come through the door having been bought for outrageous prices. For example, a particular brand of skin cleanser for $0.75/oz., which can be had for $0.44/oz. I have the stores across the top row, and the items down the first column. I highlight the best price in each row.

It helps to see that I should never buy pasta or tomatoes at Costco, for example, and always buy that skin cleanser at Costco.

The keeping it in your head tactic only works for me when I am the one always shopping.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on March 10, 2017, 07:34:17 AM
Like, I know that Kraft Peanut Butter cycles on sale for $3.99 pretty regularly at some store or another (and I shop at Walmart and price match, so can get any store's sale prices.)  But I also know that it occasionally goes on for $2.99, so I buy enough then to last.

This reminded me of a recent "proud" moment (that caused DH to roll his eyes at me).  I needed PB, and Aldi's had only one brand that was just peanuts/no added sugar.  It was something like $3.99 or $4.99 for a 1-lb jar -- cheaper than regular store prices, but I was annoyed.  Sitting right next to it was a 1-lb jar of peanuts for $1.99.  Guess which I bought?  Stuck them in my food processor on the "grind" setting (blades run backwards), and a few minutes later I had peanut butter at half the price. 

OTOH, this week was my first really happy splurges -- had a business trip to Manhattan, so I went to DH's favorite bagel shop and bought a half-dozen to take home on the train.  This week's spend will be up $7.20, but the joy they provided for the entire family was *totally* worth it!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: AustinHorn on March 10, 2017, 12:40:28 PM
Thanks for all the feedback on the price books, guys!  I'm actually a numbers guy, but want to get more detailed and don't mind spending the time upfront to get into the weeds of it.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 10, 2017, 12:41:26 PM
Like, I know that Kraft Peanut Butter cycles on sale for $3.99 pretty regularly at some store or another (and I shop at Walmart and price match, so can get any store's sale prices.)  But I also know that it occasionally goes on for $2.99, so I buy enough then to last.

This reminded me of a recent "proud" moment (that caused DH to roll his eyes at me).  I needed PB, and Aldi's had only one brand that was just peanuts/no added sugar.  It was something like $3.99 or $4.99 for a 1-lb jar -- cheaper than regular store prices, but I was annoyed.  Sitting right next to it was a 1-lb jar of peanuts for $1.99.  Guess which I bought?  Stuck them in my food processor on the "grind" setting (blades run backwards), and a few minutes later I had peanut butter at half the price. 

OTOH, this week was my first really happy splurges -- had a business trip to Manhattan, so I went to DH's favorite bagel shop and bought a half-dozen to take home on the train.  This week's spend will be up $7.20, but the joy they provided for the entire family was *totally* worth it! 

See, now, the homemade PB would never happen in my house.  I would think about having to clean out my food processor, and say, "Nope!"  But I commend you for it!  You are badass!

On the other hand, I would totally spend $7.20 for some good quality bagels!  Yum!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on March 10, 2017, 07:36:15 PM
Like, I know that Kraft Peanut Butter cycles on sale for $3.99 pretty regularly at some store or another (and I shop at Walmart and price match, so can get any store's sale prices.)  But I also know that it occasionally goes on for $2.99, so I buy enough then to last.

This reminded me of a recent "proud" moment (that caused DH to roll his eyes at me).  I needed PB, and Aldi's had only one brand that was just peanuts/no added sugar.  It was something like $3.99 or $4.99 for a 1-lb jar -- cheaper than regular store prices, but I was annoyed.  Sitting right next to it was a 1-lb jar of peanuts for $1.99.  Guess which I bought?  Stuck them in my food processor on the "grind" setting (blades run backwards), and a few minutes later I had peanut butter at half the price. 

OTOH, this week was my first really happy splurges -- had a business trip to Manhattan, so I went to DH's favorite bagel shop and bought a half-dozen to take home on the train.  This week's spend will be up $7.20, but the joy they provided for the entire family was *totally* worth it! 

See, now, the homemade PB would never happen in my house.  I would think about having to clean out my food processor, and say, "Nope!"  But I commend you for it!  You are badass!

On the other hand, I would totally spend $7.20 for some good quality bagels!  Yum!

Did I mention that DH does the dishes?  ;-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 10, 2017, 11:02:01 PM
Like, I know that Kraft Peanut Butter cycles on sale for $3.99 pretty regularly at some store or another (and I shop at Walmart and price match, so can get any store's sale prices.)  But I also know that it occasionally goes on for $2.99, so I buy enough then to last.

This reminded me of a recent "proud" moment (that caused DH to roll his eyes at me).  I needed PB, and Aldi's had only one brand that was just peanuts/no added sugar.  It was something like $3.99 or $4.99 for a 1-lb jar -- cheaper than regular store prices, but I was annoyed.  Sitting right next to it was a 1-lb jar of peanuts for $1.99.  Guess which I bought?  Stuck them in my food processor on the "grind" setting (blades run backwards), and a few minutes later I had peanut butter at half the price. 

OTOH, this week was my first really happy splurges -- had a business trip to Manhattan, so I went to DH's favorite bagel shop and bought a half-dozen to take home on the train.  This week's spend will be up $7.20, but the joy they provided for the entire family was *totally* worth it! 

See, now, the homemade PB would never happen in my house.  I would think about having to clean out my food processor, and say, "Nope!"  But I commend you for it!  You are badass!

On the other hand, I would totally spend $7.20 for some good quality bagels!  Yum! 

Did I mention that DH does the dishes?  ;-) 

LOL!

Even with the store bought peanut butter, I hate cleaning out the jar well enough for it to go into recycling.  So after scraping it fairly well with a spatula to get most of the pb out, I give the jar to the dog.  She cleans it really thoroughly, except for a small circle at the bottom that she can't quite reach.  When she starts chewing on the lip of the jar, I know it's time to take it away!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 11, 2017, 10:58:01 AM
Yesterday we had to shop food for a whole weekend. I picked up 2 chunks of Gorgonzola cheese, 40% discount because if soon best before date. I checked the receipe and found out I was charged 100%. Luckilt I noticed and received my discount after complaining. This happens regularly. I wonder whether people at the register are just uncarefull, or whether the shop forgets a discount on purpose or whether the person at the register is dishonest. This time I didn't think she did it on purpose, but it is something I have suspected earlier.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on March 11, 2017, 11:24:53 AM
Even with the store bought peanut butter, I hate cleaning out the jar well enough for it to go into recycling.  So after scraping it fairly well with a spatula to get most of the pb out, I give the jar to the dog.  She cleans it really thoroughly, except for a small circle at the bottom that she can't quite reach.  When she starts chewing on the lip of the jar, I know it's time to take it away!

Hah!  No dogs here, so I'm stuck with human power.  But it's not that hard -- I just let it sit in hot soapy water to loosen the remnants, then pour out about half, put the lid on, and shake it up, rinse, toss.  (I get stuck with empty PB jars at work, alas, and this works well enough for recycle).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 11, 2017, 11:34:01 AM
My SIL has a friend who wirks in recycling. He says you don't need to deliver perfectly clean bottles to recycling. The temperature that melts glass will also burn peanut butter.
Still, I usually wash those pots in the dishwasher before recycling them.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 11, 2017, 03:55:41 PM
My SIL has a friend who wirks in recycling. He says you don't need to deliver perfectly clean bottles to recycling. The temperature that melts glass will also burn peanut butter.
Still, I usually wash those pots in the dishwasher before recycling them. 

Linda_Norway, are your peanut butter jars glass?  Ours are plastic. 

I've assumed that things don't need to be perfectly clean for the recycling process, but in the meantime first they sit in my house for a little while, in the inside recycling bin, then get dumped into the big recycling bin in my garage.  So I don't want enough food residue to attract bugs or stink up the place.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 12, 2017, 12:37:07 PM
My SIL has a friend who wirks in recycling. He says you don't need to deliver perfectly clean bottles to recycling. The temperature that melts glass will also burn peanut butter.
Still, I usually wash those pots in the dishwasher before recycling them. 

Linda_Norway, are your peanut butter jars glass?  Ours are plastic. 

I've assumed that things don't need to be perfectly clean for the recycling process, but in the meantime first they sit in my house for a little while, in the inside recycling bin, then get dumped into the big recycling bin in my garage.  So I don't want enough food residue to attract bugs or stink up the place.

Yes, I am usdd to glass jars.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 12, 2017, 01:45:39 PM
My SIL has a friend who wirks in recycling. He says you don't need to deliver perfectly clean bottles to recycling. The temperature that melts glass will also burn peanut butter.
Still, I usually wash those pots in the dishwasher before recycling them. 

Linda_Norway, are your peanut butter jars glass?  Ours are plastic. 

I've assumed that things don't need to be perfectly clean for the recycling process, but in the meantime first they sit in my house for a little while, in the inside recycling bin, then get dumped into the big recycling bin in my garage.  So I don't want enough food residue to attract bugs or stink up the place. 

Yes, I am usdd to glass jars. 

Some stuff comes in glass jars - I can think of jam, sundried tomatoes/pesto, pickles.  I have a glass jar of maraschino cherries in the fridge.  Some types of tomato sauce (others are in cans).  But I feel like a lot of stuff that used to come in glass comes in plastic now.  I suppose less waste from breakage, and also lighter to save on shipping costs?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on March 12, 2017, 06:37:59 PM
So, happy dance today.  Even with my $7 bagel run, total groceries/takeout this week was $106, including two weeks worth of dairy delivery (it occurred to me, why am I paying $5/week for delivery, when I can order 2 weeks at once and cut that in half?).  We also had to do goodie bags for Hebrew School today for Purim, and I found several treat-type things in the pantry for a start (DH went ahead and bought a box of stuff anyway, but we kept that total to $9, and my kids were left with 3/4 of it to take in their own lunches). 

Unfortunately, it is becoming clear to me that DH does NOT really like the new plan.  He is fine during the week -- I am actually a good cook, and he is fine just coming home and eating in -- but on weekends, he just likes going out to lunch and dinner (and he does NOT like Aldi's).  And today he rolled his eyes when I asked how much the treats were that he picked up. :-P We ended up going out both F and S night because he was grumpy, and then he grabbed lunch out today as well while getting the kids (I am counting/tracking that separately from the groceries -- it is something else I am trying to work on, but at a slower pace, since other people are involved).  The funny thing is while we were out to dinner Sat, he turned to me and told me my food was better -- yes!  And cheaper, too!!  Grumble grumble.  So anyway, I am going to have to be satisfied with making sure M-F is covered (plus Sunday night), and lighten up some on the weekends so DH doesn't completely revolt.  And probably work some prosciutto back into that grocery budget, too. 

But for this week, at least: $106, including $16 in purely frivolous treats -- and so much good food in the fridge prepped for the week that I almost don't have room for it all.  Laura FTW.  ;-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Epor on March 13, 2017, 08:14:56 AM

Congrats to all of you that reached your weekly goals. I failed mine - I wanted groceries to be under 100$, and spent 105$. So close...

I did make pizza dough using the breadmaker an it was so easy. I made some calzones hoping they would last a couple days but they are all gone. I'll make another loaf for the week tonight.



Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 13, 2017, 09:38:41 AM

Congrats to all of you that reached your weekly goals. I failed mine - I wanted groceries to be under 100$, and spent 105$. So close...

I did make pizza dough using the breadmaker an it was so easy. I made some calzones hoping they would last a couple days but they are all gone. I'll make another loaf for the week tonight. 

So close!

And you've put your finger on the problem with homemade bread and bread products.  They are so good!  When you first start out, that's all anyone wants to eat.  :-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on March 13, 2017, 12:54:32 PM
Unfortunately, it is becoming clear to me that DH does NOT really like the new plan.  He is fine during the week -- I am actually a good cook, and he is fine just coming home and eating in -- but on weekends, he just likes going out to lunch and dinner (and he does NOT like Aldi's).  And today he rolled his eyes when I asked how much the treats were that he picked up. :-P We ended up going out both F and S night because he was grumpy, and then he grabbed lunch out today as well while getting the kids (I am counting/tracking that separately from the groceries -- it is something else I am trying to work on, but at a slower pace, since other people are involved).  The funny thing is while we were out to dinner Sat, he turned to me and told me my food was better -- yes!  And cheaper, too!!  Grumble grumble.  So anyway, I am going to have to be satisfied with making sure M-F is covered (plus Sunday night), and lighten up some on the weekends so DH doesn't completely revolt.  And probably work some prosciutto back into that grocery budget, too.

Haha, I can totally relate to the hubby telling you your homemade food is better but still wanting to eat out :) My husband is a complete and utter pizza fiend, and every time he gets pizza out he tells me he is disappointed because my homemade pizza is so much better. I'm like, "You knew that was going to happen, why did you bother going out then?" I mean, duh! But yeah, I think baby steps is the way to handle a reluctant spouse.

Anyway, as planned I did a super minimal shopping this week, only going to 1 store and spending $21.26. With that, I was able to get produce, milk, a special pack of nitrate-free lunch meat for myself to make a sandwich for our day trip yesterday (already had lunch meat at home for hubby), stocked up on oats (.50/lb!!), and splurged on some cashews. Oh, I also got a box of frozen waffles on sale for $2.50 - I had a .75 off coupon, plus another .75 rebate from the iBotta app, and there was another special iBotta rebate that gave me $5 for redeeming any rebate. So combined, I got paid $4 to take the waffles :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on March 13, 2017, 02:18:51 PM
I have been SICK the past almost two weeks, so our food spending is all over the place (husband doing the shopping is never as reliable for the budget, but was unavoidable). I need to assess where we are this week. At least we have done pretty well at eating stuff that we have at home.

Heck of a deal on the waffles, DTaggart! What is iBotta?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on March 13, 2017, 02:50:01 PM
Heck of a deal on the waffles, DTaggart! What is iBotta?

It's a phone app where you can take pictures of your grocery receipts and then get rebates on certain items. It's got a lot of brand name convenience items I never buy, but they always some things like .25 back on apples or any brand of yogurt, so there's just about always something I'm going to buy anyway, so might as well get a little back. Once you have $20 or more you can get a PayPal or Venmo payment or a gift card.

If you want to check it out, here is my referral link: https://ibotta.com/r/seqtbve
If you sign up through that link I think we both get a bonus.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 14, 2017, 01:52:45 AM
Yesterday I only bought veggies (with 15% discount), bread and milk. We will eat proteins from the freezer.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on March 14, 2017, 10:35:06 AM
Heck of a deal on the waffles, DTaggart! What is iBotta?

It's a phone app where you can take pictures of your grocery receipts and then get rebates on certain items. It's got a lot of brand name convenience items I never buy, but they always some things like .25 back on apples or any brand of yogurt, so there's just about always something I'm going to buy anyway, so might as well get a little back. Once you have $20 or more you can get a PayPal or Venmo payment or a gift card.

If you want to check it out, here is my referral link: https://ibotta.com/r/seqtbve
If you sign up through that link I think we both get a bonus.

Thanks! If I sign up I will definitely use your link. With three kids, including the teenage athlete who eats more than the other 4 of us combined, it seems like we should get some benefit from it.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on March 14, 2017, 10:44:45 AM
Heck of a deal on the waffles, DTaggart! What is iBotta?

It's a phone app where you can take pictures of your grocery receipts and then get rebates on certain items. It's got a lot of brand name convenience items I never buy, but they always some things like .25 back on apples or any brand of yogurt, so there's just about always something I'm going to buy anyway, so might as well get a little back. Once you have $20 or more you can get a PayPal or Venmo payment or a gift card.

If you want to check it out, here is my referral link: https://ibotta.com/r/seqtbve
If you sign up through that link I think we both get a bonus.

Thanks! If I sign up I will definitely use your link. With three kids, including the teenage athlete who eats more than the other 4 of us combined, it seems like we should get some benefit from it.

There are some other similar apps - MobiSave, Checkout 51, and Saving Star if you find its the sort of thing that is useful to you. I usually only get like .25 or .50 back per week per app , but every little bit adds up. Sometimes multiple apps will have rebates for the same item, so you can double dip :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Hotstreak on March 15, 2017, 11:58:18 AM
As of March 15, total monthly grocery spending of $112, which is equal to $7.42 per day or $232 projected for the month.  This is including a currently full fridge, so no reduction in fresh food on hand.  I have eaten meat out of the deep freeze.  If I average $300/mo on regular groceries for the rest of the year, I am on target to meet my goal of $400/mo (including ~$700 I will spend on premium beef in the fall).


Quote
January - Very high at $750 including $300 Costco stocking up on vitamins for the year and some household supplies (closer to $500 without those extra items).
February - Done shopping for the month, $352 spent.
March - My goal is $300.

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 15, 2017, 12:03:41 PM
Well, was going to go grocery shopping tonight - last day for this week's flyers.  Took a look through them this afternoon.  I'm undecided whether I'll bother.  I don't know that I really *need* to go just yet. 

I still have a single sleeve bag of milk, a full carton of cream (bought last week, didn't finish my other carton as soon as I'd thought).  I'm going to bake bread sometime this weekend.  And I still have an avocado, some tomatoes, potatoes, a little green onion, half a red pepper.  And 10 kiwi that haven't ripened enough to eat yet (but are starting to show signs of softening).  Oh, and a cabbage I bought last week also, and haven't got to cutting up for coleslaw plus to cook and freeze.  Plus, all my freezer meals and ingredients.  No super fantastic "must buy" sales this week, and I don't really need anything except salt and baking soda and cat litter.  So I'll wait a few more days.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Benny3 on March 15, 2017, 02:12:32 PM
At the half way point in the month I am at $128.39 in spending for groceries.  I haven't had to buy much and $48 of that was my daughter's birthday dinner that consisted of a rotissere chicken meal with all of the fixings (rice, beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, ect) from one of our local Mexican grocery stores ($39) and her favorite dessert, a cheesecake ($11).  I guess it was a little high for a take out meal but my husband made soup from the remaining chicken as you get 2 five lb birds with the meal and we used all of the fixings for other meals.  There's enough soup for me to take for lunch for at least 2.5 weeks.

My remaining purchases for the month are mostly milk and some fresh veggies so probably around $25.  If I can stick to this it will be around $180 for the month or about $70 under budget.

Question:  When you have left over from your monthly grocery budget do you typically roll that over to the next month or send it over to your debt payments/savings/investments, ect?  I usually roll mine over as some months our grocery bill is larger like when we stock up on spices or meat on sale.  Just curious....
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Hotstreak on March 15, 2017, 02:27:53 PM
Question:  When you have left over from your monthly grocery budget do you typically roll that over to the next month or send it over to your debt payments/savings/investments, ect?  I usually roll mine over as some months our grocery bill is larger like when we stock up on spices or meat on sale.  Just curious....

I roll mine over, which is an automatic function of the budgeting software I use.  I think it makes sense for groceries, because high spending in one month can result in low spending the next, and visa versa, usually by timing of stock-ups as you stated.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on March 15, 2017, 02:32:38 PM

Question:  When you have left over from your monthly grocery budget do you typically roll that over to the next month or send it over to your debt payments/savings/investments, ect?  I usually roll mine over as some months our grocery bill is larger like when we stock up on spices or meat on sale.  Just curious....

We roll over for the short term and reassess at the end of the year. We have been tracking for a couple of years so we know that our rough year spend is, divide it by 12 that comes up with our monthly and anything not spent rolls over month to month.

 We know we are going to have bulk stock up months which will go over. We used to not really have a way of dealing with these so we end up hiding the excess in other categories. Doesn't really work and doesn't give you a very clear picture of your spending.

With this challenge, we are trying to keep our bulk spending within each month's budget by seeing how we can reduce our grocery spend overall. As we are successful, the money will roll over and at the end of the year if we have a big surplus we'll transfer it out to savings.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on March 15, 2017, 02:36:51 PM
i dont budget i just bulk buy and try to reduce overall costs as much as i can.  we already spend sub 500 a month on food including eating out so their isnt a lot to really reign in.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on March 15, 2017, 05:25:35 PM
We're at $338 out of $500 for the first half of the month. But we rolled some over from last month, so YNAB says we have a lot more than that left. I'm probably going to Costco next week, so that'll take a chunk. We seem to be making a lot more small purchases at the grocery store this month, and they're adding up.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: recklesslysober on March 15, 2017, 05:27:58 PM
I'm at $301.79 for the month already. Last month was almost $500 and I'd like to get that down. My other half is away for a week so I'm doing an eat the fridge/freezer/pantry challenge to try to spend $0 on groceries while he's gone. Going to be some interesting meals! :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 15, 2017, 11:41:45 PM
Question:  When you have left over from your monthly grocery budget do you typically roll that over to the next month or send it over to your debt payments/savings/investments, ect?  I usually roll mine over as some months our grocery bill is larger like when we stock up on spices or meat on sale.  Just curious.... 

The answer might depend on which of those things you're worried about. 

A few people have already said they'd roll it over.  But I'm still in debt repayment mode, so I wouldn't.  I'm reining in the grocery spend, and "eating all the food in my house" precisely so that I can squeeze out more from my monthly budget to put toward my debt.  When I'm further along the road to financial well-being, that might change.  I could see myself, at that stage, leaving part of the excess as a buffer against a bigger shopping trip in the next month or two, and sending the rest to investments.

Obviously, YMMV, especially if you're the type to be doing a CSA in the summer, or a bulk purchase of meat (like half a cow from a farmer) once a year, etc.  Then, I think you'd want to specifically plan for that in advance, and that's where rolling it over would make more sense.  But for minimal or moderate variations, I would tend to prioritize sending it somewhere where the money would be put to use.  If that means I cut back on investments slightly in a future month, because of the need to make a large bulk purchase, that's ok.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on March 16, 2017, 03:05:53 AM

Question:  When you have left over from your monthly grocery budget do you typically roll that over to the next month or send it over to your debt payments/savings/investments, ect?  I usually roll mine over as some months our grocery bill is larger like when we stock up on spices or meat on sale.  Just curious....

We roll over for the short term and reassess at the end of the year. We have been tracking for a couple of years so we know that our rough year spend is, divide it by 12 that comes up with our monthly and anything not spent rolls over month to month.

 We know we are going to have bulk stock up months which will go over. We used to not really have a way of dealing with these so we end up hiding the excess in other categories. Doesn't really work and doesn't give you a very clear picture of your spending.

With this challenge, we are trying to keep our bulk spending within each month's budget by seeing how we can reduce our grocery spend overall. As we are successful, the money will roll over and at the end of the year if we have a big surplus we'll transfer it out to savings.

This is our first year tracking, but this is how I plan to do it, too (roll it over and reassess at the end of the year, or maybe after 6 months).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on March 16, 2017, 08:09:55 AM
I do not roll over and any extra money goes to savings/investments each month. That being said, I will willingly go over budget if it means I can stock up on a really good deal, and I don't worry about it too much.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on March 16, 2017, 08:41:31 AM
I do think it depends on your purchasing patterns if rolling over makes sense. We tend to stock up a few times of year for all our bulk stuff, get a CSA and try to support our local farmers directly as much as possible. Also a few cross-border shopping trips for those things that are just so much cheaper even with the exchange rate.

Ideally, we only use the grocery stores for produce and the odd things we won't use enough to bother getting in bulk. But it's taken a long time to get our eating habits and grocery sources dialed in and it is still a work in progress.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 16, 2017, 12:33:33 PM
I do not roll over and any extra money goes to savings/investments each month. That being said, I will willingly go over budget if it means I can stock up on a really good deal, and I don't worry about it too much. 

Yes, this. 

I do think it depends on your purchasing patterns if rolling over makes sense. We tend to stock up a few times of year for all our bulk stuff, get a CSA and try to support our local farmers directly as much as possible. Also a few cross-border shopping trips for those things that are just so much cheaper even with the exchange rate.

Ideally, we only use the grocery stores for produce and the odd things we won't use enough to bother getting in bulk. But it's taken a long time to get our eating habits and grocery sources dialed in and it is still a work in progress.

And this.  :-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Drole on March 16, 2017, 07:56:30 PM
There are a lot of these sites, but I like the simplicity of this one for my area. Helps me quickly see if I should wait to buy certain items until I am at another store.

http://www.pricematcherz.com/
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 17, 2017, 02:29:27 AM
I am having some issues accepting how much I really spend on groceries. To start with I can only check my own bank account. My DH also buys groceries from time to time, but I do the majority, as I pass by the shops every day from/to work. This is my own spending.

Last year (2016) I used my normal debit bank card to shop groceries. My bank has a function that calculates all categories spent from that account, based on which shops it is spent on. I spent 46.626 NOK (Norwegian crows) in grocery stores in 2016. That year we had 5 weeks of vacation, mostly in Norway, during which we also buy our own food, just simpler, as it need to be cooked on a camping stove. My challenge is to decide whether I should divide the spent amount by 12 to get a realistic monthly sum, or whether that is wrong. This amount/12 is 3886 NOK per month.

Since January I have a cash back credit card in another bank. I transfer money from my normal account to this credit card and register all these transfers as groceries. Since January I have also been shopping at a cheaper shop and I also get some customer cashback from that shop. In February we have been eating a lot of meat from the fridge. On that new account, I have spent 9000 NOK in 2,5 month, which is 3600 NOK per month. This is over a period without any vacations.

I find this a disturbing small difference in before and after becoming Mustachian. This either means that I was very frugal last year or that the "cheaper" shop is not really cheaper than the previous shop that I used, or I am not not buying so frugal at all right now. I have of course for many years been a generally frugal person, being a Dutch person who moved to expensive Norway many years ago, saving 50% or our net income. But since January I have become even more aware of frugality as I now know I really can FIRE early.

I must say that I am trying not to be cheap during shopping, but I do compare kilo prices well. Something I could easily do to lower the grocery bill is to buy cheaper potatoes. The "nice" potatoes in all sorts of brands all have the same price, so usually I just buy the ones I like best. But there are also the much cheaper loose potatoes, which are also less pretty. Although we do not eat so many potatoes.
There is also cheaper bread, although I am unsure how much whole grain it is. I always buy at least 50% whole grain for health reasons. I also don't like the el cheapo bread so well. We ate it during our first year in Norway and that felt cheap. I also seldom throw away food, buy the cheapest carrots and meat. But I do buy real meat and not the pre-fabric mixed products.
I have been bulk buying a bit, but the shops where I shop have not had so many relevant bulk offers.

Enough self-ranting for the moment, I will try harder from now on and see where it leads in another few months from now.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on March 17, 2017, 09:14:45 AM
Linda_Norway:

I think you are being too hard on yourself. You have been making lots of changes and great progress! I know it is so frustrating seeing people with these super low grocery budgets and thinking we should be able to do so much better. You are shopping in a totally different system then we are. Your costs are much, much higher. There is even a large disparity between our prices in Canada and the USA, but we have a lot of access to things that you don't or for much cheaper.

There are a couple of things you might be able to do:

1. Look at your budget as a whole. It might not be worth it for you to spend huge amounts of time and stress trying to save a few NOK on shopping if you are spending more amounts in other places that could be more easily cut.

For many of us, quality of food is important and we consider it an investment in our health. So yes, we could buy the cheapest flours and fillers but we aren't going to. We have made a conscious decision to spend more and make up for it in other areas because it is a priority.

2. If things are really that much more expensive in Norway, it might be worth it to get a freezer and plan on taking a trip a couple of times a year somewhere else to stock up on the things that make sense. This is one of the only ways we can eat the way we do and keep our grocery prices reasonable.

3. Are you buying non-food things at the grocery store? These things are almost always more expensive at the grocery store.

4. Reevaluate what you buy, especially your staples. Okay, so you don't want to eat crappy bread, I totally get it! But I would try buying a cheaper version of the things you do use often and just seeing what you think of them. With the potatoes, you mention the loose ones not "Being Pretty" Is this something you can get used to? Is the taste different? You might not have them often enough for it to matter, but if you can make substitutions for a few of your staple foods, it will add up over time.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 17, 2017, 10:25:22 PM
Linda_Norway, I agree with swick.  You're being too hard on yourself.  My math skills are not the best, but isn't that something like a 7.5% difference in your grocery budget?  As someone who was already pretty thrifty, you probably didn't have as much "fat" to trim from the budget in the first place, so I'd say that 7.5% is pretty good.  There may be some more tweaks here and there that you could make, but you may be getting pretty close to optimal grocery spending.

The other question is whether you have cut down in other areas, such as restaurant spending, that would be actually increasing your grocery budget.  If you're down to 92.5% of your previous budget, but now feeding yourself 3, 5 or 10 more meals a month, then you're doing even better than you realize.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 18, 2017, 01:45:26 AM
Thanks for the moral support, @swick and @PJ. And for the tips.

I am now bringing my own lunch to work, so we now eat half a bread a day instead of a third bread a day. And some more bread topping. We eat out very seldom.
Yes, I guess I should bulk shop staples at a cheaper store. Ans in May we'll take another trip to Sweden for a long weekend canoeing. Then we need to make sure ahead that the freezer has enough space to store lots of meat.

And next time we need potatoes I will get some of the cheapest, not attractive looking potatoes and see how they taste. Probably like potatoe.

For all the other items in the shop I always try out the cheap brand and see whether I like it. Often it tastes good and then I stick to it.

Edit: My DH thinks I am now paying for 90% of the groceries, instead of 75% earlier, because I have a customer card. Therefore I must be saving more than 7,5%. :-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on March 18, 2017, 09:40:29 AM
Oh yes, adding groceries for lunch at work would definitely add to your grocery costs!  And your DH is probably right too, about the customer card.  Can he get one too?

Also, lol about the ugly potatoes! 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on March 18, 2017, 02:56:09 PM
Thanks for the moral support, @swick and @PJ. And for the tips.

I am now bringing my own lunch to work, so we now eat half a bread a day instead of a third bread a day. And some more bread topping. We eat out very seldom.
Yes, I guess I should bulk shop staples at a cheaper store. Ans in May we'll take another trip to Sweden for a long weekend canoeing. Then we need to make sure ahead that the freezer has enough space to store lots of meat.

And next time we need potatoes I will get some of the cheapest, not attractive looking potatoes and see how they taste. Probably like potatoe.

For all the other items in the shop I always try out the cheap brand and see whether I like it. Often it tastes good and then I stick to it.

Edit: My DH thinks I am now paying for 90% of the groceries, instead of 75% earlier, because I have a customer card. Therefore I must be saving more than 7,5%. :-)

I totally agree with PJ and Swick -- if your groceries are paying for more meals than before, you are seriously undercounting the value of the improvements you have made!  If you want a fair comparison, add last year's lunch costs + groceries and compare that to this year's lunch costs + groceries.  Honestly, it sounds like you are doing great!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on March 19, 2017, 10:57:57 AM
Sigh.  Total crash and burn this week.  A million "reasons," but basically it's all one big fat excuse.  I feel exactly like I feel when I fall off a diet or drink too much -- ashamed, nauseated, etc.  Basically, I knew today was going to be a bigger bill, because I needed to do a Wegman's shop for staples, but then I got lazy and caved and got everything there, and some extras that weren't on the list to boot.  Grand total: $311 -- $174 groceries,* $137 household stuff.  And to top it off, Friday was 4 hrs at urgent care + "honey can you figure out food when we get home" = $50 in pizza.  $50!!!  Not A pizza -- TWO pizzas + cheese bread + nuggets.  All of which I am now stuck eating, as the "I don't like leftovers" brigade is tired of eating the giant pile of crap he ordered.  Grrr.  I'm not even counting his lunch out today against my grocery/takeout budget, since there are like 20,000 calories left in the fridge he is refusing to eat.

So the totals for the month to date are $320 groceries + $140 household + $131 takeout = $591 total.  So the $600 budget is shot for the month.  Still, I will work an "eat all the food in the house" for the next week and a half to try to limit the damage.

What I need is a better default option for "shit happens/don't want to/can't cook."  This is twice now in the last month I've had stuff that pushes me to my limit and I just can't deal with cooking (work, DS's broken foot), and we ended up dropping $50 on takeout.  I am good at the "plan," but need a better fallback option when the plan fails because life. 

I guess the good points are that (a) this really brings home how much I used to drop on groceries without even thinking about it (I spent the checkout going, holy shit, I used to do this *every week*?); and (b) I didn't even enjoy it -- I used to enjoy buying treats, like this week's prosciutto and melon, but this time I felt nauseated the whole time.  So I guess that is a good mental shift, where Aldi's is now "normal," and the splurging isn't fun.  I just need to find a way to do the happy medium, where I can get DH his periodic treats without totally falling off the wagon because I walked into Temptation Central -- never been good at that, always been better at one extreme or the other.

*"Real" groceries were more like $130, as the total included the once-yearly tub of real maple syrup and stock-up cheap chicken breasts.  But still.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 19, 2017, 12:11:06 PM
What I need is a better default option for "shit happens/don't want to/can't cook."  This is twice now in the last month I've had stuff that pushes me to my limit and I just can't deal with cooking (work, DS's broken foot), and we ended up dropping $50 on takeout.  I am good at the "plan," but need a better fallback option when the plan fails because life. 


Some idea's:
Luxury ham is on sale from time to time. Next time, buy some packs and freeze for any emergency need for decadency. The ham should be eadible after putting the pack in water for half an hour. You can also make foccacia (or buy when on sale) and freeze to go together with ham.

Make some homemade pizza's and freeze in for need of fast food. Same when you make some wok food next time. Make double portion and freeze. If you only save the meat/veggie sauce, you can next time eat it with tortilla's.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Epor on March 19, 2017, 03:12:42 PM

I did it! Groceries finally under 100$. In fact 76$. I can hardly believe it. I do not expect to be always this low, as I am trying to eat stuff already in the house, but is making a huge difference every Saturday when I clean the fridge - much less veggies/salads/stuff being tossed.

I continue making my own bread with mixed results and I get duck eggs from a farmer near by; I'm making sure we are actually eating the leftovers, instead of tossing on Saturdays as usual. Oh, I also found that rice is awesome. Really filling and delicious - I'm planning on making it at least once a week.

My thanks to all that share experiences on this forum. I learned quite a few things by reading of the challenges you face and the creative ways you approach those challenges. plus, by committing to write here every week I keep myself in check too.

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: zinethstache on March 19, 2017, 06:24:48 PM
Wow, great job Eporedia!

I always struggle with the food budget. It is just DH and I, but when we owned our primary residence we very often fed visitors, and were the house of choice for parties etc. Now our home is sold, we live in our fifth wheel and I just FIREd, so we are now on a fixed income. This category MUST stay under control. I do include all household supplies, paper goods and food. We don't drink alcohol.

I have a combined budget of $600/month. We live in a HCOL area. Soon we will be slow traveling and I hope we will be spending most of our days in LCOL areas in the south. Ideally I would like to see us be able to hit $450 or $500.

Since retirement (end of Jan) I've been very closely monitoring our shopping. I hand write out a menu each week. I don't mind swapping meals around, it is more of a quick reference so you aren't tempted to just eat junk food:)

We shop once a week and DH cooks all of the food at once. Eggs, Meats etc.

Last year we ended up about 1k over for the year.

Feb: $535
March: $316 spent through today

 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on March 19, 2017, 07:45:20 PM
I have a combined budget of $600/month. We live in a HCOL area. Soon we will be slow traveling and I hope we will be spending most of our days in LCOL areas in the south. Ideally I would like to see us be able to hit $450 or $500.

...

We shop once a week and DH cooks all of the food at once. Eggs, Meats etc.

Oooh I'm very excited to hear how your food costs work out. We've toyed with the idea of slow travel in a camper or RV once we FIRE, and I know this will require a significant change in how I normally shop and manage our food budget since I won't have the luxury of a chest freezer and loads of room to stockpile things when they're on sale. Does your trailer have much of a freezer or is it just a fridge? Is shopping every week pretty much required to replenish? Please feel free to go into excruciating detail about your shopping trips and how you handle your food planning and management :)

What I need is a better default option for "shit happens/don't want to/can't cook."  This is twice now in the last month I've had stuff that pushes me to my limit and I just can't deal with cooking (work, DS's broken foot), and we ended up dropping $50 on takeout.  I am good at the "plan," but need a better fallback option when the plan fails because life. 

I always try to keep a couple of easy freezer meals on hand for these types of situations. You can cook your own stuff ahead of time, or buy something like frozen pizza(s), stouffer's lasagna, those birds eye meal kits, whatever sort of thing you guys like. The key is to make sure its something quick and easy that involves little more than unwrapping and putting in the oven - so easy a husband could do it! :) Nuke a bag of mixed vegetables if you're feeling ambitious. (If your husband is anything like mine, you'll need to bury the frozen pizza deep in the freezer so they don't stumble upon it when looking for a snack and decide "Hey! I'll eat this entire pizza by myself because I don't feel like making a sandwich." lol)

So this week my hubby decided he was going to try his hand at making beef jerky in our dehydrator, and dropped an unauthorized $21.93 on meat and seasonings (including a large bottle of soy sauce, which we already have plenty of and a bottle of A1 that I have pretty much no other use for). *sigh* The jerky came out really good at least :) I considered just taking this out of his spending money, but it looks like I can probably still make it under budget this month so I'm going to roll with it. But there won't be any more Powerade for him this month :p

So I did a pretty large shop this week, but got TONS of great deals. Total spent was $80.72, which includes 5 dozen eggs (.99/dozen), TEN pounds of ground beef (2x 5lbs packages that were 7.95 each, plus I had ecoupons for 1.50 off each pack - ended up being 1.29/lb which is absolutely unprecedented around here, I hardly ever buy ground beef because its rarely below 2.99/lb... I would have bought more but we're so unaccustomed to eating it, I didn't figure we'd get through it very quickly), a 12-pack of TP (on sale, plus coupons, plus rebate), 6 bottles of salad dressing (on sale, plus coupons, plus rebate), bags of cheese (on sale plus coupons), 2 weeks worth of bread (on sale plus coupons), 3 weeks worth of yogurt on sale, tons of produce (.88 blackberries.. yum!), oh and a giant family pack of pork roast. Freezer is stuffed again.

I've got about $25 left for the month, which should be plenty to grab any produce I need next week and anything else I might run out of. Just need to keep hubby out of the store :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 20, 2017, 02:27:47 AM
I always struggle with the food budget. It is just DH and I, but when we owned our primary residence we very often fed visitors, and were the house of choice for parties etc. Now our home is sold, we live in our fifth wheel and I just FIREd, so we are now on a fixed income. This category MUST stay under control. I do include all household supplies, paper goods and food. We don't drink alcohol.

Next time, ask other party members to bring a dish. We have a yearly Christmas party at our house where the guest 2 or 3 at the time need to prepare a dish. They need to buy food and drink and prepare it (at our house). We are usually responsible for 1/3 of the main dish. This way you can have a party, but not pay for more food than your fair share.

When you shop otherwise, do you compare price per kilo/pound? This way you can find the real cheapest ingredients. It can also help to deliberately buy cheaper ingredients, like carrots end Chinese cabbage and just figure out what dish to make with it. Or use it in other dishes.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on March 20, 2017, 05:50:57 AM
Thanks for the ideas, guys -- what this has made me realize is that I have higher standards for an acceptable last-minute quick meal than DH does.  He is doing low carb/paleo (and doesn't like anything slow-cooked like soups or stews), so I've seen frozen pizzas at Aldi's on sale and thought, hmm, maybe I should put one in the freezer just in case, and then thought, no, too many carbs, he won't eat it.  So Friday I assumed he'd get Chinese or Indian or something and just avoid the rice -- but no, what does he get but pizza!

Clearly, the bar is a lot lower than I have been led to believe. :-)

Very cool Eporedia!  Keep it up!

zinethstache -- I second the notion for detailed updates.  Your current lifestyle is one I fantasize about and am trying to get DH to consider, so I'd love to read reports about the reality of living that way.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on March 20, 2017, 06:56:28 AM
this is gonna go to crap for us at least as far as tracking - my parents moved in for the next few months so i have no clue how to figure out half our expenses while they are there.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on March 20, 2017, 09:06:44 AM
this is gonna go to crap for us at least as far as tracking - my parents moved in for the next few months so i have no clue how to figure out half our expenses while they are there.

I would think taking your total grocery spend and then dividing it by the number of people and keeping the % that is your family? Though your buying patterns might change a bit to accommodate them

Thanks for the ideas, guys -- what this has made me realize is that I have higher standards for an acceptable last-minute quick meal than DH does.  He is doing low carb/paleo (and doesn't like anything slow-cooked like soups or stews), so I've seen frozen pizzas at Aldi's on sale and thought, hmm, maybe I should put one in the freezer just in case, and then thought, no, too many carbs, he won't eat it.  So Friday I assumed he'd get Chinese or Indian or something and just avoid the rice -- but no, what does he get but pizza!

.

I can't imagine doing low carb/paleo without anything slow-cooked. I'd think in that case, I'd have a supply dry of nope-meal mix on hand: http://www.paleostateofmindblog.com/blog/grain-free-oatmeal (http://www.paleostateofmindblog.com/blog/grain-free-oatmeal) and I always make sure to have the fixin's for eggs. It takes zero time to make a veggie and egg scramble, or heck just some eggs.  Or make a dinner out of an apple butter with almond butter, and whatever prepped veggies or whatnot that can be scrounged from the fridge.

 I'm a pretty firm believer that if you are going to choose (or need to follow) an eating style that is particularly time-consuming, it is your responsibility to be able to fend for yourself if you need to. Also, what is with the attitude of not eating leftovers? That has got to increase your work load/time/money considerably and make it harder to cope with curve balls in general.


I did it! Groceries finally under 100$. In fact 76$. I can hardly believe it. I do not expect to be always this low, as I am trying to eat stuff already in the house, but is making a huge difference every Saturday when I clean the fridge - much less veggies/salads/stuff being tossed.

I continue making my own bread with mixed results and I get duck eggs from a farmer near by; I'm making sure we are actually eating the leftovers, instead of tossing on Saturdays as usual. Oh, I also found that rice is awesome. Really filling and delicious - I'm planning on making it at least once a week.

My thanks to all that share experiences on this forum. I learned quite a few things by reading of the challenges you face and the creative ways you approach those challenges. plus, by committing to write here every week I keep myself in check too.



Way to go! Sounds like you are getting a real handle on your spending/food waste!

Our spend last year was an average of 450/month CDN. So far we are doing pretty good on our budget of 350. Although we have been using up a lot of pantry/freezer stocks so far.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Epor on March 20, 2017, 10:06:19 AM

Thanks everybody for the kind words - is so liberating to be able to share those small victories and not be judged - you know very well that outside of our mmm community being a penny pincher is not something to brag about: you get endless: "you can afford it", "live a little", "why don't you just lease a new car", and my fave: "you work hard, you deserve a 350k mortgage."

Thanks again, looking forward to next week.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on March 20, 2017, 11:03:35 AM
I'm a pretty firm believer that if you are going to choose (or need to follow) an eating style that is particularly time-consuming, it is your responsibility to be able to fend for yourself if you need to. Also, what is with the attitude of not eating leftovers? That has got to increase your work load/time/money considerably and make it harder to cope with curve balls in general.

Preach.  :-)  The problem is that he's also not Mustachian and doesn't really care to be.  So he's not actually *trying* to dump this all on me -- he'd be more than happy to do takeout/eat out whenever I didn't feel like cooking, for any reason whatsoever.  So I am trying to nudge him in that direction by showing him that we can still have delicious food and fun times without dropping all that money on mediocre crap.  But Friday definitely showed me my own limits on that front.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on March 20, 2017, 02:31:19 PM

Thanks everybody for the kind words - is so liberating to be able to share those small victories and not be judged - you know very well that outside of our mmm community being a penny pincher is not something to brag about: you get endless: "you can afford it", "live a little", "why don't you just lease a new car", and my fave: "you work hard, you deserve a 350k mortgage."

Thanks again, looking forward to next week.

Isn't that the truth outside of communities like this one! I am super thankful for this place.

We're doing alright. We are still a little high for the month, but may be able to get it back down to the goal. We managed to make it through the entire weekend without eating out at ALL. It was quite a feat actually on Saturday because the kid's soccer games were 11 and 4. It would have been really easy to go grab a meal out after the 11am game, but with 5 of us it gets so expensive. We actually went home and threw together leftovers. It would have been really easy to grab an early dinner after the 5pm game but instead we stopped at the grocery store on the way home. Weekends are usually our moment of weakness, so I'm feeling really good about it! Right now we're on pace to hit $1260 for the month, but a week ago we were on pace to be over $1500, so we're trending in the right direction. My "realistic" goal is $1200 but my "stretch" goal is $1000. I don't think we'll make $1000 this month, but I will be really happy if we come in under $1200 since the Vegas rugby weekend at the beginning of the month set us back on the eating out front. Feeding a teenage boy is ridiculous though...I always think we'll have leftovers for lunch and then he comes through and annihilates them!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: tyrannostache on March 21, 2017, 04:46:23 PM
Eporedia, I'm with you. It's turning out to be kind of fun to see where we can economize, and I'm getting much, much better about eating everything in the fridge. The only things we've had to throw out were some lovely black beans with caramelized onions that got wedged in the back and forgotten.

So far this month, we are doing pretty well. I have to admit, though, I have splurged a few times this week--I am 8 months pregnant, and I feel like I hit a wall in terms of exhaustion. I'm definitely contributing to increasing the ice cream-focused portion of the budget. We caved and did a (relatively cheap) take-n-bake pizza one night this weekend, because we were all tired. My low energy level is definitely contributing to an uptick in that kind of convenience food. I also bought lunch out today, mostly because DH is out of town and I didn't plan ahead very well.

Still, I think we could be on track for a sub-475 month, which will be an improvement. My very non-frugal parents are coming to visit next week, so we'll see what happens there. My mom will definitely lament how bare our fridge is, and my dad will immediately go out and buy (or bring) a bunch of prepackaged snack food.

Our "shit happens" meal of late has been breakfast burritos. We almost always have eggs and cheese in the fridge and tortillas in the freezer. Drop a pile of greens on the plate, and it's *almost* a healthy meal.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 22, 2017, 12:46:44 AM
Yesterday I visited a 10 NOK (1 USD) market at the expensive grocery store. Bought a lot of staples and some things to freeze. But I really had to pay attention. I don't know all article prices by heart, I just allways compare shelve prices. So I grabbed some small cut canned tomatoes that we eat often. A little later I saw the shelve where those canned tomatoes are normally stored and there I found some at only cost half the price of what was on sale. So then I swapped the articles. I also noticed that in some cases the expensive brand was made the same price as the cheaper beand that I usually buy. And then there is no point in buying it.

I guess it's a game of who is smartest, the shop or the customer. But I find it a bit tiring.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: alleykat on March 22, 2017, 03:48:30 AM
I am doing pretty damn good this year.  I do some areas where I can do better but I am not bringing home what I use to.  In April, I think I will keep track of my grocery spending out of curiosity.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on March 23, 2017, 08:04:29 PM
I just looked at our expenditures in YNAB, and with the exception of a $142 trip to Costco on 3/2, the biggest purchase we made this month was $25. Yet we've spent $425. Just lots and lots of little purchases. We live close enough to the grocery store that it's almost too easy to go run and grab 1 or 2 things when we think of them. There have only been 2 days so far this month that we didn't go to the store! We went to the store 3 times today! :O And that's not unusual.

So my goal going forward will be to plan better and stay out of the grocery store for small purchases as much as possible. It doesn't seem like we buy anything unnecessary when we go, but it adds up, and I suspect there's some waste hidden in those little trips.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 24, 2017, 01:23:20 AM
I just looked at our expenditures in YNAB, and with the exception of a $142 trip to Costco on 3/2, the biggest purchase we made this month was $25. Yet we've spent $425. Just lots and lots of little purchases. We live close enough to the grocery store that it's almost too easy to go run and grab 1 or 2 things when we think of them. There have only been 2 days so far this month that we didn't go to the store! We went to the store 3 times today! :O And that's not unusual.

So my goal going forward will be to plan better and stay out of the grocery store for small purchases as much as possible. It doesn't seem like we buy anything unnecessary when we go, but it adds up, and I suspect there's some waste hidden in those little trips.

Each time you visit the store you will see the products that they advertise and you might end up buying some product you hadn'd  planned to buy. Therefore is better to shop few times a week to reduce the number of temptations.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on March 24, 2017, 10:15:05 AM
I just cashed in my first $20 through ibotta, thanks again DTaggart for mentioning it here. I didn't even buy anything we wouldn't have bought anyway.

Right now we're on target for $1225 this month, which is just over the $1200 goal. I'm hoping we can shave it down a bit and hit the $1200. Since the month started off really high with the Vegas trip I feel pretty good to have it so close to achievable with a week left. We have spent $950 this month, but lots of eating out when we were in Vegas. For comparison, we spent $1846 on food the same month last year. I know we still have a long way to go to be remotely comparable to the truly frugal, but I'm pretty happy with the incremental progress there.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on March 24, 2017, 11:06:16 AM
probably gonna come in around 310-320 this month... local GC just had a super sale and we stocked up. again
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on March 24, 2017, 11:15:20 AM
I just cashed in my first $20 through ibotta, thanks again DTaggart for mentioning it here. I didn't even buy anything we wouldn't have bought anyway.

woot! Money for nothing, and your waffles for free </dire straits>
Thanks for using my referral :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Hotstreak on March 24, 2017, 01:54:56 PM
probably gonna come in around 310-320 this month... local GC just had a super sale and we stocked up. again

I did a stock up this weekend as well.  5 fish = 20lbs of whole wild Alaskan salmon (frozen) for $3.99/lb.  With that $80 I am at $250 for the month and expect to finish at goal, under $300.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on March 24, 2017, 05:57:28 PM
I just cashed in my first $20 through ibotta, thanks again DTaggart for mentioning it here. I didn't even buy anything we wouldn't have bought anyway.

woot! Money for nothing, and your waffles for free </dire straits>
Thanks for using my referral :)

I was happy to use your referral; thank you for telling me about it! And I'm always happy to see a dire straits reference. :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on March 25, 2017, 08:57:22 AM
I just looked at our expenditures in YNAB, and with the exception of a $142 trip to Costco on 3/2, the biggest purchase we made this month was $25. Yet we've spent $425. Just lots and lots of little purchases. We live close enough to the grocery store that it's almost too easy to go run and grab 1 or 2 things when we think of them. There have only been 2 days so far this month that we didn't go to the store! We went to the store 3 times today! :O And that's not unusual.

So my goal going forward will be to plan better and stay out of the grocery store for small purchases as much as possible. It doesn't seem like we buy anything unnecessary when we go, but it adds up, and I suspect there's some waste hidden in those little trips.

Each time you visit the store you will see the products that they advertise and you might end up buying some product you hadn'd  planned to buy. Therefore is better to shop few times a week to reduce the number of temptations.

Exactly my thinking. Thinking about it more, I think a lot of those small purchases are pricey (relative to what I could make at home) snacks, like candy and stuff.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on March 26, 2017, 12:20:47 PM
So, didn't do quite as well as hoped this week, but not horrible -- $69 at Aldi's was ok (I based menus on what I had in the freezer/pantry, but then went off-list for some treats to keep the rest of the family happy).  Takeout was limited to $10 for "spirit night" at CFA, but then a bad case of athlete's foot led to a $35 CVS trip, for a weekly total of $105.  So what I hope are final monthly totals = $389 groceries, $141 takeout, and $175 household.

So, very significant improvement in actual groceries -- under $400 even including the massive Wegman's run last week.  Takeout is still higher than I'd like, but that number is actually a significant improvement (only two "I can't deal with cooking" craters), and at least I am learning my triggers and working on having alternatives ready.  But, man, the "household" stuff is just killing me -- there is just no good alternative, because either I run the gantlet at Wegman's, or I make a trip to CVS, which is massively overpriced (today's trip would have been $50 for four things were it not for two coupons that made it "only" $35). 

Still, overall, I have probably cut the groceries/weeknight takeout/household stuff by half, just by paying more attention and sacrificing the Wegman's "experience."  Which was the "real" point, moreso than my arbitrarily-chosen $600 target.  So, yay, I guess.  I just really want to hit that damn target!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on March 26, 2017, 01:23:40 PM
Has anyone been doing any diet/habit/whatever hacking as a way to bring down their grocery bills?  It seems like a lot of people are struggling with the "snacks" category but there are lots of things we buy where tweaking just a little could save big over time.

It might be substituting a habit you have, or an ingredient, or changing a behavior.... I know we are all doing this in little ways, but does anyone have anything that really stands out for them?

A couple of years ago there was a record/track your grocery spending (or something like that) monthly challenge and I found it was super super helpful just breaking down what were spending on groceries into categories and having a record of what we actually bought. It was a PITA but I saw quite a few things that made us change some of our habits. Especially once we extrapolate spending to a yearly figure. Little things like we were spending $600 a year on milk alone. (Granted we were in Northern BC) but still...it boggles the mind.

Once we figured out how much things were costing us, especially snacky type things, it was easy to say no when we considered what else we could be doing with that money. One of the big changes we made was anything non-nutritive had to come out of our fun money. In the early days, that chopped our "grocery" spending by about 1/4 pretty much overnight.

My friend is doing this with her kids right now, it is helping them get the idea that "food is food and treats are treats" and saving them a bunch of money in the process.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Hotstreak on March 26, 2017, 04:58:34 PM
Has anyone been doing any diet/habit/whatever hacking as a way to bring down their grocery bills?  It seems like a lot of people are struggling with the "snacks" category but there are lots of things we buy where tweaking just a little could save big over time.

It might be substituting a habit you have, or an ingredient, or changing a behavior.... I know we are all doing this in little ways, but does anyone have anything that really stands out for them?


I am eating less meat.  No longer eating it for calories, only eating until I have enough protein and other nutrients from it.  To help I am mixing beans in with meat/soups to supplement meat protein, and drinking more whey protein shakes.  I am replacing some of these calories with additional healthy fats, but also losing some weight.

Quote
. . . One of the big changes we made was anything non-nutritive had to come out of our fun money. In the early days, that chopped our "grocery" spending by about 1/4 pretty much overnight.


I would be worried that this is not a real reduction in expenses, just re-categorizing some expenses as fun instead of grocery.  I would not change how I categorize things in the middle of a cost cutting challenge since it skews any actual reduction that may or may not be happening.  For instance if $50 in food gets re-categorized as $50 in Fun.. and the Fun category spending stays steady.. you're reducing Fun spending, not grocery spending.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on March 27, 2017, 07:53:49 AM
Has anyone been doing any diet/habit/whatever hacking as a way to bring down their grocery bills?  It seems like a lot of people are struggling with the "snacks" category but there are lots of things we buy where tweaking just a little could save big over time.

I've also been trying to work in more beans. The main thing that sticks out is that I've started eating a lot of home-popped popcorn for snacks. I have it most days. I love it, and it's crazy cheap.

I'm also starting to lean away from coffee/soda/energy drinks and more toward tea, for both health and cost reasons. This one is definitely still a work in progress though.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Epor on March 27, 2017, 08:37:03 AM

All right, groceries this weekend: 103.79 - bringing the months average/wk to 95.84. It could have been much lower if I had looked at my fridge before going. I got cheese that I did not need, as well as an extra almond milk. Still is nice to have it under control.

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on March 30, 2017, 12:58:44 PM
Almost positive we'll make it this month! We do need a small grocery run tonight, but should be under $50. We are at $1119 for the month. $200 of that was eating out in Vegas at the beginning of the month for my son's rugby tournament.

We are going to Italy in April for 7 nights (and 1 night in London on the way home), so I know our eating out will be high in April, but I think after we get a couple more months of $1200 (or under, like January), I want to make more of a stretch goal of $1000. We have 3 days at Disneyland in May, so I'm keeping the $1200 goal for April and May, but June may be the month I lower the goal to $1000. I don't think it's reasonable to lower the goal beyond that, with 5 of us in the house including the teenager who eats as much as the rest of us combined...
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on March 30, 2017, 01:15:50 PM

Quote
. . . One of the big changes we made was anything non-nutritive had to come out of our fun money. In the early days, that chopped our "grocery" spending by about 1/4 pretty much overnight.


I would be worried that this is not a real reduction in expenses, just re-categorizing some expenses as fun instead of grocery.  I would not change how I categorize things in the middle of a cost cutting challenge since it skews any actual reduction that may or may not be happening.  For instance if $50 in food gets re-categorized as $50 in Fun.. and the Fun category spending stays steady.. you're reducing Fun spending, not grocery spending.

It depends, I can see your point, it didn't work that way for us.  We didn't "recategorize" and take away or reduce grocery money to put more into fun money. We paid for snacks out of our exisiting fun money, so it wasn't like a bonus, it was "Do I want this more than x?" and in almost every single case the answer was "Hell NO!"  It wasn't necessary to do it forever it was a mind shift reframe more than anything else, going back to looking at treats as treats instead of just another part of groceries.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 31, 2017, 12:56:27 AM

We are going to Italy in April for 7 nights (and 1 night in London on the way home), so I know our eating out will be high in April, <...>

When staying abroad and eating in restaurants, you can at least look at eating only a main course and not 3 courses.

I personally find Italian food a bit confusing when I'm there on holiday, having a menu built up by pasta first, followed by meat and veggies. I am already stuffed after a pasta meal. Therefore when we visit Italy we usually eat either a pizza or a portion of pasta. And sometimes only the main dish, without the pasta. And only very occasionally a starter or dessert. And we skip breakfast and lunch at restaurants. Lunch is just some bread, cheese, olive paste and wine, bought in a shop. Much cheaper than eating lunch in a restaurant.

Have fun.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: facepalm on March 31, 2017, 05:23:29 AM
My goal this month was to spend $300 on food. Didn't make it; ended up spending $384. Went way over on coffee and fast food, too. But I did manage to spend much less than in previous months, so overall I'm happy.  Also stocked up on staples, my pantry could support a Salt Lake City family of 10 for at least a week.

Goal next month is to stick to food budget of $330.  Also going to give myself a fast food budget of $15. I think I can trim my coffee (Peets, Sbux) down to $20, The coffee is mostly a social thing and the fast food a weakness thing. Not going to beat myself up over it; I'm still doing better than 98% of the people out there.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 31, 2017, 06:08:36 AM
I checked the online discount magazine and made a list on my phone on what to buy in bulk for cheap. Only picked stuff that I need.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on March 31, 2017, 06:56:05 AM

We are going to Italy in April for 7 nights (and 1 night in London on the way home), so I know our eating out will be high in April, <...>

When staying abroad and eating in restaurants, you can at least look at eating only a main course and not 3 courses.

I personally find Italian food a bit confusing when I'm there on holiday, having a menu built up by pasta first, followed by meat and veggies. I am already stuffed after a pasta meal. Therefore when we visit Italy we usually eat either a pizza or a portion of pasta. And sometimes only the main dish, without the pasta. And only very occasionally a starter or dessert. And we skip breakfast and lunch at restaurants. Lunch is just some bread, cheese, olive paste and wine, bought in a shop. Much cheaper than eating lunch in a restaurant.

Have fun.

This is how we usually do it, too. I like checking out grocery stores in other countries.

I don't think we're buying any groceries today, so our final number for the month is $613 and $1587 for the year. Not great. We only spent $53 this week, and we still have a lot of food in the house. I'd like to get to the point where our food expenses are less "lumpy." I tend to buy a bunch of stuff one month, eat it down the next month, and repeat. I want to spread it out better. And I also really need to work on my snack purchases (candy, cookies, etc.). That'll be my main focus for April.

Speaking of Italy, we diverted a little bit of our grocery budget to savings for a trip there next year. That's more fun and motivating to me than putting it toward generic savings or something. I'm hoping cutting the budget here and there on an ad hoc basis, as opposed to a permanent reduction, will improve our shopping habits and lead to more permanent reductions in the future.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on March 31, 2017, 08:35:44 AM
Skipped our last weekly grocery shop on the month and made do so spending for the month was 280.00 CDN and included a stock up of coffee for $60.00.

Definitely been making progress with the "use it up" gauntlet. Plan is to have another super lean month and stock up cross-border in May.  Spend for the year so far is 1026 or about 343.00 month out of 350.00 budget. I don't think we'll stay this low all year as we set a number we knew was artificially low because we wanted to force ourselves to use stuff up.

We have decided to not renew our veggie CSA this year as they changed the delivery to pick up and it is on a day of the week we will mostly be out of town. Going to try and grow a bit more this year and do some bartering/crop sharing between friends and family who have better green thumbs than we do.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on March 31, 2017, 10:00:58 AM
Thanks for the advice, Linda! I've never been to Italy before so I'm really excited. We are staying at an airbnb with a full kitchen, so we will do breakfast at the house each morning (except the last morning when we'll be in London at a hotel, then we'll probably grab a quick bite at Pret in the airport before heading home). My husband and I often split a meal these days when we go out, and of course I have the teenager who will eat absolutely everything that anyone doesn't finish. I really like your idea of bread, cheese, etc for lunch. Our airbnb is pretty centrally located so we could always stop back in to eat lunch too. Since we are traveling with our two younger kids also who are 5 and 7 I don't expect we will have a lot of nice "sit down" meals with multiple courses!

We did a grocery run last night, and our monthly food spending is currently $1168. There is a slight chance we'll split a (huge) sandwich at a local place for lunch since we have errands we need to run in the area before tomorrow morning, but that shouldn't add more than $10 at the most. We are definitely going to come in under my $1200 goal, and we even had company two weekends in a row, AND 3 nights in Las Vegas this month. I am starting to feel confident that we can get it down even further. I know $1200 is a TON to spend on food around here, but our monthly average last year was $1774...which is outrageous even not on MMM. It is amazing what a difference a little bit of awareness makes!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Well Respected Man on April 01, 2017, 10:13:52 AM
Groceries were $670 out of $775 goal. I didn't buy any meat all month, which helped a lot. We are now making granola every week or two, and bought the Costco almonds and walnuts and Amazon chia and flax seeds to bring the cost per batch down. We also bought a 5 pound bag of raw cashews on Amazon, so we have some possibilities for roasting, making cashew milk, or making cashew butter.

I signed up for ibotta, downloaded my grocery store app, and got the Amex Blue Cash Preferred for 6% cash back on groceries, plus $150 bonus for the first $1000 spend. Finally trained DW on which card to use for what, just in time for the categories to change :-O
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on April 02, 2017, 07:03:43 AM
We are out of (luxury) potatoes. This week I'll buy the el cheapo brand that costs 1/3 or so.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on April 02, 2017, 09:33:34 PM
We still have inlaws visiting from interstate this month so our groceries are all over the place. They come over for dinner most nights and eat meat where as we usually eat vegetarian meals. They are buying a lot of the food too making it impossible to track or work out what we are actually spending. We are throwing out a lot more food than usual too because plans keep changing at the last minute.

Last month was our first on a single income and with a baby. I really want to get a grasp on what our normal spending is like now so I can feel more comfortable with and in control of our new situation. Right now I feel very uncomfortable about our finances because I have no strong evidence that this situation is viable long term (no strong evidence to say it isn't either).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: mustachepungoeshere on April 02, 2017, 09:54:39 PM
We still have inlaws visiting from interstate this month so our groceries are all over the place. They come over for dinner most nights and eat meat where as we usually eat vegetarian meals. They are buying a lot of the food too making it impossible to track or work out what we are actually spending. We are throwing out a lot more food than usual too because plans keep changing at the last minute.

Last month was our first on a single income and with a baby. I really want to get a grasp on what our normal spending is like now so I can feel more comfortable with and in control of our new situation. Right now I feel very uncomfortable about our finances because I have no strong evidence that this situation is viable long term (no strong evidence to say it isn't either).

Hang in there, pancakes.

Any change of routine (i.e. guests) makes it harder to track spending and food. With a new baby on top of that, go easy on yourself and monitor what you can. When the visitors leave, you can see where the chips (and all the other meals) fall.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on April 02, 2017, 09:59:09 PM
We still have inlaws visiting from interstate this month so our groceries are all over the place. They come over for dinner most nights and eat meat where as we usually eat vegetarian meals. They are buying a lot of the food too making it impossible to track or work out what we are actually spending. We are throwing out a lot more food than usual too because plans keep changing at the last minute.

Last month was our first on a single income and with a baby. I really want to get a grasp on what our normal spending is like now so I can feel more comfortable with and in control of our new situation. Right now I feel very uncomfortable about our finances because I have no strong evidence that this situation is viable long term (no strong evidence to say it isn't either).

Seems like you have a bunch on your plate and the uncertainty isn't helping you. I would suggest being gentle with yourself right now. Do what you can with what you have. Is there any way you can start freezing things to cut down on food waste when plans change?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on April 03, 2017, 05:57:41 AM
We are out of (luxury) potatoes. This week I'll buy the el cheapo brand that costs 1/3 or so.

Go Linda!  :-)

We are going out of town next week, so this week I decided to forego the Aldi's shop and dairy delivery and just eat from the fridge/pantry.  I also took a hard look at my Amazon Subscribe & Save and realized I didn't actually need anything this month, so I canceled that as well.  Unfortunately, it's not a total win, as I also had to go by Wegman's for pseudo-foods I was running out of (e.g., Powerade, Diet Pepsi, tea), so that still ran me $57 ($40 on "food," $17 on household stuff).

I have no idea what next week will bring -- on vacation with all of DH's *totally* non-Mustachian family, so I suspect the groceries will be of the "go to the store every day and drop $200 for a houseful of people, then go out to eat anyway" variety.  So we will have to carry our fair share of that.  But, hey, at least this week's lower than usual. . . .
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Epor on April 03, 2017, 08:28:30 AM

Another under $100 day at Aldi's. I feel that I can keep doing this all year long - I was afraid it would be super painful and depriving... but instead I still buy ice cream and almond milk and some wine every now and then; For me the bigger difference is that we are eating leftovers now. When we have little leftovers (not enough for a full meal) I found that making a cup or so of sushi rice will round up the meal and actually taste good.

My breadmaker is used every week, I make good bread and pizza dough for calzone. Next week I'll try softpretzels.

Thanks to the "eat all the food in your house" challenge, I'm also refraining from buying novelty foods: almond meal flour, chia seeds, coconut vinegar, stuff like that that lingers in the house for years.

Plus I love this forum: is super nice to see all the smart things you do every week.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: afuera on April 03, 2017, 08:49:44 AM
I'm a little late on the monthly update up my total spend for March was $280.50!  This is the lowest spend we have had (that I can remember) and it still included lots of indulgent shopping including 3 boxes of wine, 1 crawfish boil, and some desserts (ice cream, girl scout cookies).
I feel like we are really starting to feel more comfortable with our grocery spending and we have a really cut down on the number of things we buy at Costco after comparing prices and finding alternatives.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on April 03, 2017, 09:27:28 AM
My March total ended up being $1178.76. Still much more than everyone here...but just under my target of $1200, and $600 less than how much I spend on food in March the previous year.

I am going to try and do my best in April, but I plan to indulge in good food and drink while we're in Italy. We leave Friday!!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Epor on April 03, 2017, 10:07:55 AM
My March total ended up being $1178.76. Still much more than everyone here...but just under my target of $1200, and $600 less than how much I spend on food in March the previous year.

I am going to try and do my best in April, but I plan to indulge in good food and drink while we're in Italy. We leave Friday!!

OMG I lived in Italy for quite some years, I hope you have a great time!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on April 03, 2017, 12:24:02 PM
My March total ended up being $1178.76. Still much more than everyone here...but just under my target of $1200, and $600 less than how much I spend on food in March the previous year.

I am going to try and do my best in April, but I plan to indulge in good food and drink while we're in Italy. We leave Friday!!

OMG I lived in Italy for quite some years, I hope you have a great time!

Thanks!! I've never been to Italy, so I'm really excited! Not excited about the process of getting there: Drive from San Diego to LAX, red eye flight to London, 7 hour layover at Heathrow, and then finally the flight to Rome. Cheap flights have a downside! We'll be in Rome for 7 nights (staying at an airbnb and daytripping from there; full kitchen, laundry, and week discount). We are doing a (long) day trip to Pompeii and hiking up Mt. Vesuvius, taking the train to Florence for a day, and have a number of other things planned (already paid for Sistine Chapel tickets in advance to avoid the massive line). We promised the kids daily pizza and gelato. :) I will work hard on my food budget the rest of the year to make up for it. I will still track all of our spending, but I'm going to enjoy the local food for sure.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on April 03, 2017, 03:23:32 PM
My March total ended up being $1178.76. Still much more than everyone here...but just under my target of $1200, and $600 less than how much I spend on food in March the previous year.

I am going to try and do my best in April, but I plan to indulge in good food and drink while we're in Italy. We leave Friday!!

OMG I lived in Italy for quite some years, I hope you have a great time!

Thanks!! I've never been to Italy, so I'm really excited! Not excited about the process of getting there: Drive from San Diego to LAX, red eye flight to London, 7 hour layover at Heathrow, and then finally the flight to Rome. Cheap flights have a downside! We'll be in Rome for 7 nights (staying at an airbnb and daytripping from there; full kitchen, laundry, and week discount). We are doing a (long) day trip to Pompeii and hiking up Mt. Vesuvius, taking the train to Florence for a day, and have a number of other things planned (already paid for Sistine Chapel tickets in advance to avoid the massive line). We promised the kids daily pizza and gelato. :) I will work hard on my food budget the rest of the year to make up for it. I will still track all of our spending, but I'm going to enjoy the local food for sure.

That sounds amazing! Couple ideas for you: Someone recommended Herculaneum over Pompeii to us because it's less crowded and better-preserved (though this was several years ago, so things might've changed). There's a stop a few blocks away on the Circumvesuviana. We really liked it. Also, a lot of the touristy gelato places will sell you huge, fancy cones for like 8 Euro. We found a few little places here and there that were more out of the way and sold more reasonably-sized cones for 1 Euro.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on April 04, 2017, 07:31:26 AM
averaging 341 on the year for groceries and booze.  stocked up alot on grocery last month and my parents moved in.  so thats affecting things too.  still much lower than the close to 600 we were at last year.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on April 04, 2017, 11:42:13 AM
My March total ended up being $1178.76. Still much more than everyone here...but just under my target of $1200, and $600 less than how much I spend on food in March the previous year.

I am going to try and do my best in April, but I plan to indulge in good food and drink while we're in Italy. We leave Friday!!

OMG I lived in Italy for quite some years, I hope you have a great time!

Thanks!! I've never been to Italy, so I'm really excited! Not excited about the process of getting there: Drive from San Diego to LAX, red eye flight to London, 7 hour layover at Heathrow, and then finally the flight to Rome. Cheap flights have a downside! We'll be in Rome for 7 nights (staying at an airbnb and daytripping from there; full kitchen, laundry, and week discount). We are doing a (long) day trip to Pompeii and hiking up Mt. Vesuvius, taking the train to Florence for a day, and have a number of other things planned (already paid for Sistine Chapel tickets in advance to avoid the massive line). We promised the kids daily pizza and gelato. :) I will work hard on my food budget the rest of the year to make up for it. I will still track all of our spending, but I'm going to enjoy the local food for sure.

That sounds amazing! Couple ideas for you: Someone recommended Herculaneum over Pompeii to us because it's less crowded and better-preserved (though this was several years ago, so things might've changed). There's a stop a few blocks away on the Circumvesuviana. We really liked it. Also, a lot of the touristy gelato places will sell you huge, fancy cones for like 8 Euro. We found a few little places here and there that were more out of the way and sold more reasonably-sized cones for 1 Euro.

We will definitely be on the lookout for reasonably-sized, affordable gelato! We will be there with my husband's best friend and his wife who have spent a lot of time in Rome, so I hope they know some good local places to go away from the touristy stuff.

We considered Herculaneum, but in the end settled on a full day guided tour at Pompeii that includes transportation there and back from Rome, and a hike up Mt. Vesuvius. I just didn't have it in me to deal with the train through Naples with 3 kids (5, 7, 16) and my mother-in-law (turns 78 while we're there, but is very fit). I definitely plan to go back to Italy someday, so we'll branch out more then.

Back to groceries...in anticipation of our trip we're trying to eat up everything in the house. Hope it will offset our travel food expenses somewhat.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: haypug16 on April 05, 2017, 04:56:06 PM
I'm jumping in! My food spending in March was $478.73 which included several meals out.

This month's goal is $350. This is for me and my daughter (my husband buys his own food for the most part)

So far this month I've spent $83.58. So I'm on track so far to reach my goal. Last month was my first month tracking all my spending. This month is the start of cutting out spending where I can.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Hotstreak on April 05, 2017, 10:41:41 PM

I ended March at $5 over budget, with a relatively empty fridge.  I just threw out an entire $15 dollar batch of hash.  I thought I had washed the greens but apparently I did not do a good job, since I have chewed on some sort of sandy dirt every time I tried to eat it.  Since this is 5% of my monthly budget I'm trying to let it go and move on.  Tomorrow is farmers market and I plan to spend another $15 to make a similar recipe. 

I realize that to some extent I am reducing spending, but not reducing consumption on a dollar basis.  Essentially I am eating down pantry items that will require replenishment later.  I want to know how much I am actually eating, and it's frustrating to not know, but I also don't want to take the time and effort to weigh and log all of my meals.  Like a log pushed out in to the lake, my course is set and only time will tell how effective my cost reduction efforts are.  By the end of the year I should have a really good idea of a sustainable spending level.  In the short term, I am shooting for $300 again.. but I have already spent $180 stocking up this month and so I don't know that I will stay under goal.  I've just been so fucking ravished, eating everything in sight!  Exercising like a maniac also, which may be the cause.  Hunting seasons are beginning and hopefully I will get a buffer of meat soon.

March - $305
February - $352
January - $750, including large stock up of vitamins and household goods, more like $500 on food items.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on April 06, 2017, 12:46:59 AM
We are out of (luxury) potatoes. This week I'll buy the el cheapo brand that costs 1/3 or so.

Ate the cheap potatoes yesterday and there was absolutely nothing wrong with them. I'll continue to use them.

The cheaper bread is not quite as good as the next-cheapest bread that costs 40% more. But as long as it's fresh, it is acceptable to eat.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on April 06, 2017, 09:02:41 AM
We are out of (luxury) potatoes. This week I'll buy the el cheapo brand that costs 1/3 or so.

Ate the cheap potatoes yesterday and there was absolutely nothing wrong with them. I'll continue to use them.

The cheaper bread is not quite as good as the next-cheapest bread that costs 40% more. But as long as it's fresh, it is acceptable to eat.

Good job on testing it out, the little differences do add up over time so it is worth it!

Still haven't gone to the store, last trip was...March 19th. My husband is getting skeptical about how long we can go for, but he also said he has been enjoying the variety! Apparently, when I shop for staples I fall into a routine. We'll see if he still feels as enthusiastic after his Cauliflower Milkshake this morning :D
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: tyrannostache on April 06, 2017, 03:19:23 PM
I'm disappointed in our grocery spending for March. It ended up at about $585. I'm glad to see it under $600 but was really aiming to do better. A small chunk of that was hosting meat-loving visitors. It all evens out, as they were helping us with childcare when our kid's daycare was closed.

Goal for April: $500, with the caveat that I am due with baby #2 at the end of the month, and that will throw everything into disarray.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on April 06, 2017, 04:44:20 PM
Still haven't gone to the store, last trip was...March 19th. My husband is getting skeptical about how long we can go for, but he also said he has been enjoying the variety! Apparently, when I shop for staples I fall into a routine. We'll see if he still feels as enthusiastic after his Cauliflower Milkshake this morning :D

I laughed pretty hard at this!

I feel like we're starting to get into a good groove. I'm working on a spreadsheet of go-to dinners that cost less than $2 per person. Next I have to figure out a good routine for my lunches. The trick with making things from scratch is that it takes a lot more planning to have things ready (beans need to be soaked, bread needs to rise, etc...)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on April 10, 2017, 11:24:25 AM
I'm disappointed in our grocery spending for March. It ended up at about $585. I'm glad to see it under $600 but was really aiming to do better. A small chunk of that was hosting meat-loving visitors. It all evens out, as they were helping us with childcare when our kid's daycare was closed.

Goal for April: $500, with the caveat that I am due with baby #2 at the end of the month, and that will throw everything into disarray.

Is it an idea of looking at meat sizes? People don't need quite as much meat as most of us eat each day.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: haypug16 on April 10, 2017, 02:43:02 PM
I'm jumping in! My food spending in March was $478.73 which included several meals out.

This month's goal is $350 $300. This is for me and my daughter (my husband buys his own food for the most part)

So far this month I've spent $83.58. So I'm on track so far to reach my goal. Last month was my first month tracking all my spending. This month is the start of cutting out spending where I can.

I decided to set my monthly goal at $300 for the month. So far I've spent $126.38 and shouldn't have to go shopping again till next week, except maybe a gallon of milk or some other one off item. I had some other "surprise" expenses this month so to cut down overall for the month the groceries seemed like a good place to start.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Well Respected Man on April 10, 2017, 09:09:43 PM
I finally broke down and bought meat this week. There was a promotion of $12 off $120 purchase, and another $4 off $10 meat purchase. Hams were $0.77/lb and $0.97/lb, so I bought one of those and some ground beef. I ended up "saving" over $70 all told, as I stocked up on some other sale items. That should easily hold us till the end of the month, outside of vegetables, fruit, milk, and possibly some cheese. I may make something to bring for Easter dinner, but it won't be jamon-wrapped hummingbird tongues with caviar sauce.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Hotstreak on April 14, 2017, 12:11:17 PM
I'm going to be cutting it close this month.  Currently at $285 out of a budget of $300.  Enough fresh stuff for the next week + $15 cash left from a $20 I withdrew for farmers market purchases (already included in the $285).  I have freezer meal plans and should not need much from the store so at this point I am planning on making the $300 target.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Well Respected Man on April 16, 2017, 08:22:11 AM
Well, *I* only spent $26 on groceries for the week, but we had a couple of unsupervised visits by certain other family members for an expensive convenience dinner and $17 of eggplant and lemons ?? Also had an e-coupon for $10 off a $100 Mastercard gift card, so I bought that and an Amazon card with the Amex BCP, so $200 of value for about $184, if the cash back comes through.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on April 16, 2017, 09:42:16 AM
We're at $193 halfway through the month, so on track so far!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on April 16, 2017, 01:45:46 PM
So last week was a total cluster - 13 people, 1 house, and I had zero control over either shopping or meal planning.  So I have zero clue how much was spent (the idea is to "even it up" later), but I know it is going to be ridiculous.  Given all of this, I have just decided to write the whole week off to vacation, and then also knock 1/4th off my $600 monthly grocery target.

So this week, alas, Aldi's was closed (the downside of returning to a completely empty fridge just in time for Easter, I guess).  So I hit the Asian market instead, which was not awesome -- prices were higher than I recall ($2.99 for a head of lettuce??).  So I spent $112 on food and another $4 on household supplies, for a monthly total of $156/21.  I also have a large dairy stockup coming later this week, so that'll probably be another $50.  Still, that will leave me about $250 left for the last @10 days of the month, so if I pay attention and don't go crazy with Papa John's or something, I should make it this month.  Yay.

As a total of-topic rant, last week was *such* a good demonstration that throwing money around is no guarantee of a good time.  This was the luxe-luxe-luxe vacation (inlaws), with a fancy house and eating out and even a personal chef to make dinner a few nights.  And I had a fucking miserable time and resent how much our "share" of all of that crap is going to be.  Don't get me wrong, the guy made some awesome food, but there were too many people and I got stuck in the totally crappy room and the bugs ate me alive and I basically drank my way through the week pretending to have fun so as not to ruin it for my MIL (in whose honor we were all getting together - Stage 4 cancer, so damned if I was going to make her feel bad that my vacation sucked).  If I had been smart, I'd have volunteered to be the personal chef for the group and have them pay me instead -- since I didn't exactly feel all relaxed and vacation-ey anyway, I might as well have been making some cash instead of basically lighting my own on fire.  FFS.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on April 18, 2017, 08:45:52 AM
Well...April will be WAY over my goal. We are already at $1120 for the month, with very little food in the house and a trip planned to Costco during lunch today. BUT!! Italy was amazing. :) We ate fabulously well every day, and we had gelato at least once (sometimes twice) a day. We had the great good fortune of La Romana Gelateria two blocks from our airbnb, which had the best gelato (full of locals with all menus in Italian and employees with scant English), for a very reasonable 2.2 Euros.

Part of our over-spending was poor water planning. We did bring water bottles everywhere with us (free to fill up from fountains in Rome), but drinks in Pompeii were $$$$ and of course every meal we had to pay for water since they don't do free water there. And, even in Rome, we often ran out with thirsty kids. I was most appalled at the airport, no drinking fountain anywhere! Oh well, at least Heathrow had water bottle filling stations so we didn't have to buy water during our London layovers.

We will try to keep the rest of the month as frugal as possible, but the kitchen is pretty lean right now. We have a three day Disneyland trip planned in May, and aside from that, no additional travel planned for the foreseeable future. Plenty of months to save up and get our grocery bill down at home again.

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Epor on April 18, 2017, 09:29:58 AM

Ah, so glad I'm not alone with a expensive April... (jillinsandiego and Laura33). Spent 4 days in Portland OR and about 200$ in restaurants... it was a fun trip with lots of friends from NV and CA meeting there. Still have a trip to a waterpark with my kids for next week (but I can pack snacks/lunch for that) - and then I'm clear for the near future. On the other hand my grocery bills are completely under control. When I started back in mid-February the task was so daunting... a few common sense changes and I hit my grocery budget (under 100$/wk) in March and I'm on track for April as well.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on April 19, 2017, 08:45:21 AM

Ah, so glad I'm not alone with a expensive April... (jillinsandiego and Laura33). Spent 4 days in Portland OR and about 200$ in restaurants... it was a fun trip with lots of friends from NV and CA meeting there. Still have a trip to a waterpark with my kids for next week (but I can pack snacks/lunch for that) - and then I'm clear for the near future. On the other hand my grocery bills are completely under control. When I started back in mid-February the task was so daunting... a few common sense changes and I hit my grocery budget (under 100$/wk) in March and I'm on track for April as well.

Always good to have people who understand, right? We have been SO much better with grocery spending and eating out at home, that I'm not going to stress too much about the Italy spending. It was a fantastic trip and all worth it!! We went to Costco yesterday so we are over on our spending, but we only bought "necessity" food and not frivolous snacks/drinks, for the most part. As far as Costco trips go it was very reasonable.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on April 19, 2017, 09:34:36 AM

Ah, so glad I'm not alone with a expensive April... (jillinsandiego and Laura33). Spent 4 days in Portland OR and about 200$ in restaurants... it was a fun trip with lots of friends from NV and CA meeting there. Still have a trip to a waterpark with my kids for next week (but I can pack snacks/lunch for that) - and then I'm clear for the near future. On the other hand my grocery bills are completely under control. When I started back in mid-February the task was so daunting... a few common sense changes and I hit my grocery budget (under 100$/wk) in March and I'm on track for April as well.

Always good to have people who understand, right? We have been SO much better with grocery spending and eating out at home, that I'm not going to stress too much about the Italy spending. It was a fantastic trip and all worth it!! We went to Costco yesterday so we are over on our spending, but we only bought "necessity" food and not frivolous snacks/drinks, for the most part. As far as Costco trips go it was very reasonable.

Yeah, ITA.  My problem is that I feel like I am making excuses by not counting the vacation week toward this month's groceries.  But the point of this exercise is to challenge myself to do better on the things I can control -- and telling 9 in-laws who like pampering that they need to cook for themselves and eat some more rice and beans doesn't really fall in that category.  (Irony alert: the chef prepared, you guessed it, rice and beans one night)  I need to remind myself that I am changing my own habits, and that I am making progress on that part of the equation, even if that doesn't extend to other parts of my life.  Maybe those will be the 2018 challenge.  :-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Drole on April 19, 2017, 10:52:08 AM


Part of our over-spending was poor water planning. We did bring water bottles everywhere with us (free to fill up from fountains in Rome), but drinks in Pompeii were $$$$

Heck, we brought 4 frozen bottles of water with us to Pompeii and still those expensive drinks outside the gate were *almost* worth every penny (definitely needed to get the kids moving again)!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Epor on April 19, 2017, 02:54:43 PM

Yeah, ITA.  My problem is that I feel like I am making excuses by not counting the vacation week toward this month's groceries.  But the point of this exercise is to challenge myself to do better on the things I can control -- and telling 9 in-laws who like pampering that they need to cook for themselves and eat some more rice and beans doesn't really fall in that category.  (Irony alert: the chef prepared, you guessed it, rice and beans one night)  I need to remind myself that I am changing my own habits, and that I am making progress on that part of the equation, even if that doesn't extend to other parts of my life.  Maybe those will be the 2018 challenge.  :-)

Ha! Personal chef cooking rice and beans... did his fee include the food?

Rice has been one of the most significant changes I made. I get sushi rice (sticky) because I like the texture/flavor better so is a little more expensive - but still sooo cheap compared with many other dishes. I can make any lb of meat last 3 times longer, and leftovers do not fell lame if there is fresh rice with it. I own a rice steamer, so no real cooking talent involved.

Anyhow I understand the frustation of expending money when the (poor) choice was made by others but at least you had plenty to drink! If you do not mind sharing: How much was your daily cost for the place+chef?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on April 19, 2017, 06:23:40 PM

Yeah, ITA.  My problem is that I feel like I am making excuses by not counting the vacation week toward this month's groceries.  But the point of this exercise is to challenge myself to do better on the things I can control -- and telling 9 in-laws who like pampering that they need to cook for themselves and eat some more rice and beans doesn't really fall in that category.  (Irony alert: the chef prepared, you guessed it, rice and beans one night)  I need to remind myself that I am changing my own habits, and that I am making progress on that part of the equation, even if that doesn't extend to other parts of my life.  Maybe those will be the 2018 challenge.  :-)

Ha! Personal chef cooking rice and beans... did his fee include the food?

Rice has been one of the most significant changes I made. I get sushi rice (sticky) because I like the texture/flavor better so is a little more expensive - but still sooo cheap compared with many other dishes. I can make any lb of meat last 3 times longer, and leftovers do not fell lame if there is fresh rice with it. I own a rice steamer, so no real cooking talent involved.

Anyhow I understand the frustation of expending money when the (poor) choice was made by others but at least you had plenty to drink! If you do not mind sharing: How much was your daily cost for the place+chef?

I honestly don't know.  My FIL rented the place, and my MIL hired the chef (though we will be reimbursing her).  She said something like $50 pp per meal, which implies $600-700 for each of the three dinners.  Plus probably $600-800 in groceries and multiple other meals out -- basically, my SIL is doing a spreadsheet that includes what everyone paid on communal food, and we will find out our share at some point in the future.  I wouldn't be surprised if we end up owing $1-2K (since we contributed about 1/3 of the mouths).

TBH, the rice and beans was the best I ever had -- I had leftovers with some fried eggs every morning after.  :-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on April 20, 2017, 06:17:49 AM

Yeah, ITA.  My problem is that I feel like I am making excuses by not counting the vacation week toward this month's groceries.  But the point of this exercise is to challenge myself to do better on the things I can control -- and telling 9 in-laws who like pampering that they need to cook for themselves and eat some more rice and beans doesn't really fall in that category.  (Irony alert: the chef prepared, you guessed it, rice and beans one night)  I need to remind myself that I am changing my own habits, and that I am making progress on that part of the equation, even if that doesn't extend to other parts of my life.  Maybe those will be the 2018 challenge.  :-)

Ha! Personal chef cooking rice and beans... did his fee include the food?

Rice has been one of the most significant changes I made. I get sushi rice (sticky) because I like the texture/flavor better so is a little more expensive - but still sooo cheap compared with many other dishes. I can make any lb of meat last 3 times longer, and leftovers do not fell lame if there is fresh rice with it. I own a rice steamer, so no real cooking talent involved.

Anyhow I understand the frustation of expending money when the (poor) choice was made by others but at least you had plenty to drink! If you do not mind sharing: How much was your daily cost for the place+chef?

I honestly don't know.  My FIL rented the place, and my MIL hired the chef (though we will be reimbursing her).  She said something like $50 pp per meal, which implies $600-700 for each of the three dinners.  Plus probably $600-800 in groceries and multiple other meals out -- basically, my SIL is doing a spreadsheet that includes what everyone paid on communal food, and we will find out our share at some point in the future.  I wouldn't be surprised if we end up owing $1-2K (since we contributed about 1/3 of the mouths).

TBH, the rice and beans was the best I ever had -- I had leftovers with some fried eggs every morning after.  :-)

Holy hell its stories like this that make me very happy to be from a budget/frugal minded family where we talk openly about and agree to any spending on that level.  WOW is about all i can say.  My wife's family is less so but she's not afraid to speak up and say whoa whoa whoa thats not something that makes sense lets re think this.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on April 20, 2017, 09:28:23 AM


Part of our over-spending was poor water planning. We did bring water bottles everywhere with us (free to fill up from fountains in Rome), but drinks in Pompeii were $$$$

Heck, we brought 4 frozen bottles of water with us to Pompeii and still those expensive drinks outside the gate were *almost* worth every penny (definitely needed to get the kids moving again)!

We actually did well with water on the Pompeii day; brought enough bottles and filled up at the fountains. It was the fresh, local orange juice that we fell for. Best (and most expensive) orange juice I've ever had! And yes, the lemonade slushy for the kids did get them moving again!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on April 20, 2017, 09:30:32 AM
Holy hell its stories like this that make me very happy to be from a budget/frugal minded family where we talk openly about and agree to any spending on that level.  WOW is about all i can say.  My wife's family is less so but she's not afraid to speak up and say whoa whoa whoa thats not something that makes sense lets re think this.

You're telling me.  My family went to the beach, hit the grocery store, and packed lunches and cooked dinner the whole time.  DH grew up in a different world -- although even that was not remotely this level. 

The elephant in the room is that MIL has Stage IV cancer.  So I think they are basically blowing out all the stops because they don't know if she'll be here next year to enjoy it.  And I am biting my tongue for the same reason -- it feels mean-spirited to kvetch about a few thousand bucks (that we can afford) under the circumstances. 

But after this last week, man, my tongue must have a hole in it.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: rachellynn99 on April 23, 2017, 04:50:14 PM
I did fairly well in January and February. March was pretty bad and so is April. So I'm back on needing to be very intentional in May. We have a large garden and I need to freezer space anyways- so I need to eat it down before gardening season gets in full swing. I plan on not going to the grocery store at all until April 30th- then after that my May goal is $400 for a family of 5.

We have so much frozen corn on the cob and deer meat, that honestly we could just eat that every meal if we had to. But I also have canned goods, pantry items etc. so I'm think $400 should do it for May.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on April 24, 2017, 06:18:19 AM
This week, between Aldi's and Safeway, $140 total ($112 food, $28 household), bringing the month so far to $264 food, $49 household, $313 total.  I am also going to add Friday's takeout, even though I didn't participate and don't generally hold myself accountable for DH's decisions, because I really exerted no effort whatsoever on dinner so can't really blame them for deciding pizza sounded better.  So I am going to assume $340 total.  That *should* be it for the month, although I did forget the hamburger buns.  So that would be pretty good (although I still haven't figured out how I dropped almost $100 at Aldi's).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on April 24, 2017, 07:40:10 AM
The month has been a disaster, moneywise. I have spent about 50% more on groceries than I did the previous 3 months and that was on the 20th, with still 10 days to go. And this month my DH has also shopped groceries on a few occasions.

Possible reasons:
- FIL visiting for a week. I had to buy more food and wanted to make over average good food.
- Discount week in the supermarket. I bought bulk of some goods that were on sale, that I use regularly. I also bought other optional stuff on sale (should not do that again).
- Easter holiday. We shopped for easter in a more expensive shop to give ourselves some extra treat.
- Bought quite a lot of cheese, as I can't buy my preferred cheese everywhere.

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: haypug16 on April 24, 2017, 09:39:02 AM
Total for April is $349.72. Goal was $350 then I lower it to $300. I wont be buying anything else until next week (May) and will keep my goal at $300. I totally could have hit it this month but the husband talked me into going out to eat this weekend.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on April 24, 2017, 09:48:51 AM
We had two families of 5 over (awesome neighbors) yesterday for swimming, and even though they brought food too, that definitely upped my spending for the month. I'm still going to try to do the best I can the rest of the month, but April was over goal already. At least it's been fun and not stupid/mindless spending...
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on April 24, 2017, 11:24:30 AM
looking like we're going to be at an avg spend this year so far of 310 a month depending on how the last week goes.  and what goes on sale wednesday. My parents have moved in with us so there is grocery buying going on both ways i think its staying fair but i have no clue how to track all that so i'm not gonna.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Well Respected Man on April 24, 2017, 06:57:57 PM
Spent only $46 on groceries this week, thanks to a $10 off $25 in produce coupon, and our pantry and freezer are still well stocked. I think we'll come in well under the target for this month, and we will be increasing the frugality and awareness for the next two months. We've got DS coming home from school, though, so that will add a bit to the grocery spend. But he will be required to pay for his own treat-ish food using money from his job(s).

Also rode my bike to the store for the first time this year. That brings the cost per trip of the bike trailer down by half. I hope I can get in 10 more this summer, plus 5 farm share pickups.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Heart of Tin on April 26, 2017, 12:31:32 PM
High all! I'd like to join you all for support and inspiration. I was a part of the grocery tracking/categorizing thread a few years ago that swick mentioned last month. I don't think my grocery spending has gotten too out of control since then, but I moved to a new house at the beginning of this month, so I want to keep tight reins on my grocery spending. My goal is $90/month for all food and drink for just myself except weekly coffees at my knit group (we meet at a coffee shop, and use their space for "free", so buying a drink is expected) and any spending while out that might better fit in the "entertainment" budget category, like popcorn at a movie.

April was an anticipated high spending month. My birthday was Sunday, and I took the opportunity to do a ton of baking which incurred high costs for dairy, nuts, and fruit. Also, I was restocking some items that were totally consumed pre-move like flour, corn starch, sugar, and other staples. Retrospectively my spending is at $103.69 for April, but I also spent down a gift card I received at Christmas for a local grocery chain, so actual costs are a bit higher than that. I did some meal planning last night that should cover me for the rest of April and the beginning of May without spending anything further, so next month will start fresh on a positive note.

I also started adding to my old grocery tracking spreadsheet. Since I'm in a new area with different store choices, I'd like to see how the prices for certain items compare.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: CutTheFat on April 27, 2017, 07:30:10 PM
Does anyone have a price book spreadsheet that they would be willing to share?  I'm constantly trying to remember what I spend between Costco and Aldi (my two go to stores) I'd love to use an app or spreadsheet.  Spent in April $329.39 and we shouldn't need anything else for the rest of April.  I had set the grocery budget this month at $360 would have been well below our lowest recorded month.  I'm so thrilled to have beat that number!  I even stocked up on some amazing meat sales at Aldi and stocked up on a few things at Costco.  My freezer is full!     
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on April 28, 2017, 07:51:13 AM
We're on track to be under $400 this month, which will bring our average for the year under $500/mo. I don't know exactly what we spent on groceries last year because we weren't tracking cash purchases or separating out alcohol, but I'd guess it was around $600/mo. For 2 people :/ My new short-term goal is $450/month, and ultimately I'd like to bring it down to $400.

Still working on the small purchases thing. In March, we had 56 grocery transactions in YNAB! This month was 46, so we're doing better but still have a lot of room for improvement. A lot of these are a dollar here or there at the vending machine at work. Thinking I'll get a bag of trail mix next time I'm at Costco to try to avoid some of these purchases.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: afuera on May 01, 2017, 07:25:46 AM
Finished April at $256.12 which is just $6.12 above our goal!  This month included my family visiting for almost a week as well as stocking up on fish and pork so I'm very happy with how much we ended up spending. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Well Respected Man on May 01, 2017, 08:33:43 AM
We finished the month at $609, well under the goal of $775. Spending in other categories is out of control, however, so we're doing a clampdown for May and June. New grocery target for May is $500. I really have no idea how we managed to spend so much last year, because this is not difficult.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Heart of Tin on May 01, 2017, 08:55:32 AM
My goal for the week is to make it to Saturday without any additional groceries. I have a meal's worth of chicken salad as well as five meals' worth of soup in the fridge at home and an additional serving of soup at work with me right now. That leaves about three dinner/lunch meals to put together out of the pantry. Maybe white beans cooked with a hamhock. My rosemary needs a trim, so rosemary potato bread might go well with that.

If I make it to Saturday, then my daily allowed food spend for May goes from $2.90 >>> $3.46.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: swick on May 01, 2017, 09:12:05 AM
We are currently averaging 312 a month so far this year which works out to about 1.73 a meal per person CDN.  This is artificially low because we have been using up pantry and freezer stocks. 

We'll be doing our first US food stock-up this month so I expect to go over our budget of 350. But I have a much clearer idea of what are staples are and with the dollar so crappy right now, you better believe we'll be doing the math on everything.

This thread has been super helpful in keeping me conscious and aware. I appreciate everyone sharing their process and progress :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on May 01, 2017, 11:32:21 AM
Well, I almost blew my goal this month, because I totally forgot that my "first week in May" grocery shop was going to fall on April 30.  Then I got lazy and blew it off and so came in under budget. :-)  Plus I forgot DH is traveling for the first half of the week, and we have kid games two days, so I'm just going to be doing quick throw-together stuff that I can do out of the pantry anyway.  So, yay.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Fish Sweet on May 01, 2017, 12:58:27 PM
Blew through my grocery spend this month by about.... $30.  Buying steaks on sale.  Well, try try again for May.  To make up for the sins of last month, I'm going to try to keep my grocery spending AND eating out spending beneath about $120 each, for a total of $240 for the month.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on May 03, 2017, 01:29:48 PM
Well I've gotten busy and have been remiss in reporting on my progress, so this post is intended to catch up and help me recommit.

March: Total was $256.88 (goal of $250). I would have been right at $250, but at the very end of the month I treated myself to a solo one-night camping trip and had to grab a couple of last minute things for that. I brought a hamburger patty, bun, condiments, eggs, bread and some fruit that I already had on hand, but indulged and bought myself a bag of chips, some trail mix, and a gallon of water (and probably something else, I forget). Close enough, I'm calling it a win.

April: This was a tougher month for me, I think it was largely because there were 5 shopping weekends in the month. I stocked up on meat too, which made the monthly total higher. I found bags of frozen salmon on sale for $7.99 so I bought two, then later found the same size bags at another store for $5 each, and bought two more. We got 3 whole chickens on sale, plus a large quantity of chicken breast, which we were pretty much out of.

The rub though is we were out of town for several days to visit hubby's family in Ohio. I got us a hotel room with a kitchenette (and free breakfast buffet) figuring we could save money on food, but it really didn't seem to work out that way. We still spent a ton eating out between trying to be sociable with family and having looooong layovers and flights at strange times. (Did you know there's a Mexican place at LAX that charges SIXTEEN DOLLARS for a fucking burrito??) And when we did go to the grocery store we went to the stupid expensive store instead of the reasonable good store. I think we were just like "Oh, we're just buying sandwich stuff, how much more expensive can it be?" Well, I assure you, it is much more expensive. We just did a bad job of shopping there, I'm totally off my game when I don't do the whole stockpiling when food is deeply discounted method. I have no idea what a "reasonable" normal price for food is, and the whole vacation mindset doesn't help. I really prefer our camping trips where I can buy and plan all of our food in advance.

Anyway, we dropped a couple hundred bucks on food easily for that stupid trip. I'm just counting it all as "Vacation" expense and moving on with my life.

Even with that cop-out, we were still over for April, I think in total it was about $270. $20 over budget isn't terrible though, and we're well stocked on meat, so I guess I won't lose any sleep over it. But I'm going to buckle down and try to be a little more focused for May. Someone please give me a stern glare if I don't check in weekly :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on May 03, 2017, 05:05:16 PM
Wow DTaggart, I'm impressed you stayed so close to your budget with a trip through LAX in there. Yes, I believe there is a place there with a $16 burrito. We went with pizza at LAX last month: $53.45 for six of us, including my mother-in-law, no drinks because we brought empty water bottles to fill at the airport.

Our April was way, way over target, at $1756 for our family of 5, with a very indulgent trip to Italy in the mix. To put that in perspective though, we spent an AVERAGE of $1774/month last year (yes, some months higher, ugh). So, we're making definite progress this year. I think if we keep up on our cost-cutting measures we can get down to $1000/mo eventually for the 5 of us. Will depend on growing appetites of the children though.

Back to it for May, target is $1200 for the month. We had an average Jan-March of $1177 per month, even with some travel in there. Oh well; Italy was fantastic and I'm not going to regret any of it. I will just keep working hard to keep our spending down at home so that we have the money available for travel when we get to do it.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on May 03, 2017, 06:56:37 PM
Wow DTaggart, I'm impressed you stayed so close to your budget with a trip through LAX in there. Yes, I believe there is a place there with a $16 burrito. We went with pizza at LAX last month: $53.45 for six of us, including my mother-in-law, no drinks because we brought empty water bottles to fill at the airport.

Oh no, I wish. I was trying to explain that I'm kind of cheating and categorizing all the food from the trip as "Vacation" expense so it doesn't come out of the grocery budget, and that's the only reason I'm anywhere near my goal. But its not really cheating though, because fuck LAX and expensive grocery stores and in-laws who have to eat out all the time :)

The weirdest thing about LAX though was on our outbound trip we were in a different terminal, which had a very reasonably priced Habit Hamburger place... a regular burger was like $4 or $5. But coming back in, whichever terminal we were in, EVERYTHING was in the $15+ price range, and we were hesitant to go exploring too far. Whatever, just something else to add to my very long list of reasons I hate flying.

Anyway, back on topic, it sounds like you're making really good progress Jill :) I think making gradual, steady changes is the best way to make sure your new habits stick!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Travis on May 03, 2017, 09:04:12 PM
Wow DTaggart, I'm impressed you stayed so close to your budget with a trip through LAX in there. Yes, I believe there is a place there with a $16 burrito. We went with pizza at LAX last month: $53.45 for six of us, including my mother-in-law, no drinks because we brought empty water bottles to fill at the airport.

Oh no, I wish. I was trying to explain that I'm kind of cheating and categorizing all the food from the trip as "Vacation" expense so it doesn't come out of the grocery budget, and that's the only reason I'm anywhere near my goal. But its not really cheating though, because fuck LAX and expensive grocery stores and in-laws who have to eat out all the time :)

The weirdest thing about LAX though was on our outbound trip we were in a different terminal, which had a very reasonably priced Habit Hamburger place... a regular burger was like $4 or $5. But coming back in, whichever terminal we were in, EVERYTHING was in the $15+ price range, and we were hesitant to go exploring too far. Whatever, just something else to add to my very long list of reasons I hate flying.

Anyway, back on topic, it sounds like you're making really good progress Jill :) I think making gradual, steady changes is the best way to make sure your new habits stick!

I've had a tough time gauging how well we've done for the same reasons.  Our goal is to keep groceries under $400/mo (including household items) and restaurants around $100/mo. February, March, and April were $313, $331, and $380; however, mixed into those months I was out on business (and pulling per diem) for most of February and a little over a week each of March and April.  Restaurant spending in those three months were $133, $45, and $188 not including the $500 spent on eating out at Disneyworld for a week in March.  That trip was DW, son, and in laws totaling 7 people. DW paid for much of the food since lodging was covered by others.

Even when the government is paying for my meals, I hate buying food in airports. I shouldn't have any travel this month so it'll be a fair comparison.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on May 04, 2017, 01:59:21 AM
We spent a ridiculous amount of money while I was finishing up at work and finishing up being pregnant! This month we really only need to buy vegetables, though, since we stocked the freezer just before I gave birth... So as long as we don't get too bored, I think we'll come in under budget or at least on budget this month.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Heart of Tin on May 04, 2017, 08:38:05 AM
Ugh. I'm exhausted just reading your travel experiences, Travis and DTaggart. Vacation for me means either camping or "staycationing" in my own house while catching up on household tasks.

I forgot that we were having a nurse's appreciation day at work yesterday which involved a potluck. I'm still the new girl at work, and I've had some difficulty fitting in to the office culture. I therefore needed to impress with what I brought, cinnamon rolls and savory bread with meat and cheese baked into it, both made from scratch. I bought brown sugar and some meat at Aldi, $3.94 total. I'll compensate by extending my first May grocery day to Sunday after church. I can then use the last $10 on my Sprouts gift card.

Two other work food expenses: the social committee has decided that we're going out for Cinco de Mayo on Friday after work, and we will be having a professional development day off-site on Monday without lunch provided. My boss's boss has already suggested a nearby restaurant for lunch. I feel obligated to attend these social events since my boss commented at our last one-on-one that I need to make more of an effort to fit in to the office culture. However, I come to work to make money, not spend it. An on-site potluck is one thing, but two restaurant trips within four days is entirely another.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on May 05, 2017, 05:12:05 AM
Two other work food expenses: the social committee has decided that we're going out for Cinco de Mayo on Friday after work, and we will be having a professional development day off-site on Monday without lunch provided. My boss's boss has already suggested a nearby restaurant for lunch. I feel obligated to attend these social events since my boss commented at our last one-on-one that I need to make more of an effort to fit in to the office culture. However, I come to work to make money, not spend it. An on-site potluck is one thing, but two restaurant trips within four days is entirely another.

This would be perfectly fine if your boss sponsored the lunch. Otherwise it is a mean thing your boss did to force a new employee to spend money in a restaurant for lunch.
If you feel you have to go, you could save some money by ordering a small starter dish and water and keep your bill small. If your boss doesn't expect to divide the bill equally... And bring some sandwiches from home to eat at some other time on that day.
Make sure you are an active part of the other cultural things if your company has any free things.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on May 05, 2017, 07:32:27 AM
Two other work food expenses: the social committee has decided that we're going out for Cinco de Mayo on Friday after work, and we will be having a professional development day off-site on Monday without lunch provided. My boss's boss has already suggested a nearby restaurant for lunch. I feel obligated to attend these social events since my boss commented at our last one-on-one that I need to make more of an effort to fit in to the office culture. However, I come to work to make money, not spend it. An on-site potluck is one thing, but two restaurant trips within four days is entirely another.

This would be perfectly fine if your boss sponsored the lunch. Otherwise it is a mean thing your boss did to force a new employee to spend money in a restaurant for lunch.
If you feel you have to go, you could save some money by ordering a small starter dish and water and keep your bill small. If your boss doesn't expect to divide the bill equally... And bring some sandwiches from home to eat at some other time on that day.
Make sure you are an active part of the other cultural things if your company has any free things.

mexican is easy.  free chips and salsa.  order the least expensive thing here i can get out for 5 bucks with tip when we go to the mexican place that has soup for 4 bucks.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on May 05, 2017, 10:30:04 AM
Wow DTaggart, I'm impressed you stayed so close to your budget with a trip through LAX in there. Yes, I believe there is a place there with a $16 burrito. We went with pizza at LAX last month: $53.45 for six of us, including my mother-in-law, no drinks because we brought empty water bottles to fill at the airport.

Oh no, I wish. I was trying to explain that I'm kind of cheating and categorizing all the food from the trip as "Vacation" expense so it doesn't come out of the grocery budget, and that's the only reason I'm anywhere near my goal. But its not really cheating though, because fuck LAX and expensive grocery stores and in-laws who have to eat out all the time :)

The weirdest thing about LAX though was on our outbound trip we were in a different terminal, which had a very reasonably priced Habit Hamburger place... a regular burger was like $4 or $5. But coming back in, whichever terminal we were in, EVERYTHING was in the $15+ price range, and we were hesitant to go exploring too far. Whatever, just something else to add to my very long list of reasons I hate flying.

Anyway, back on topic, it sounds like you're making really good progress Jill :) I think making gradual, steady changes is the best way to make sure your new habits stick!

I tried to actually categorize all of my vacation food as food for the Italy trip; in the past I have lumped it in with vacation! And I was definitely in a "$16 burrito terminal" on our outbound flight to Europe. I wish there had been a cheap Habit burger instead!

This has been a GOOD week for our food budget. We are on target to be under $1200 this month, although it is very early. My husband is entirely on board now with our FIRE plans, so it helps to have his buy in and effort on the food budget since it's our biggest area for improvement. I anticipate that we'll be hard pressed to meet the goal over the summer because we have people over a LOT (social neighborhood and we're the ones with the pool, though neighbors are good about bringing food too, but there's always extra teenagers around).

We had homemade Mexican food this week, so no idea what we're doing for Cinco de Mayo, other than NOT eating out at a Mexican restaurant. I just don't care for people in large quantities!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Rosy on May 05, 2017, 11:47:18 AM
April was a total loss - with vacationing and having company from Germany we did a lot of eating out. We were either traveling along the coast or constantly on tour locally.

Anyway - had to grin at the $16.00 burrito at LAX. I made the mistake of ordering a Margarita at a local beach bar without inquiring about the price first.
You guessed it - $16. I about fell off my Barstool... shucks.

Took up the challenge for May - it will be the cheapest month ever, I'm sooo ready to become Mustachian again after binging for a couple of months, I'm ready to go cheap, cheaper, cheapest in every way possible and of course find a way to make a couple of extra bucks along the way.

I'm impressed with a $256. food budget, but I know that is not something that will ever happen for us. I can do $400 and below-incl going out once or twice to eat. So this month I'll see how far below $400 I can get - yup, I'll cheat a little, since I intend to eat up everything in the freezer and a good portion of the pantry.
I think I'll schedule a trip to base to keep the meat budget under control for June as well. Hanging out on MMM will go a long way towards inspiring me, you guys are amazing.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on May 07, 2017, 12:21:34 PM
OK, weekly check-in time. As usual, our first shop of the month was a bigger one, so we spent $97. We stocked up on $.99 bottles of fancy salad dressing, a ginormous jar of black pepper (7.99), peanuts (4 lbs for 6.99), and granola bars among other stuff  at Grocery Outlet, then hit Food 4 Less for the regular weekly stuff (produce, milk, eggs, bread, yogurt, etc). Oh, and my birthday's next weekend - hubby offered to cook lasagna for my bday dinner and we have everything necessary on hand already except for ricotta cheese, which we also found reasonably priced at Grocery Outlet, yay!

I'll probably hit Smart & Final sometime this week to stock up on cheeses, and I need to find some reasonably priced whole wheat flour somewhere, but otherwise we are pretty well set for the month. So the next few weeks we'll mainly need fresh produce and dairy. Of course we'll still grab any cheap meat or staples we see on sale.

Hooray for not traveling! :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: CloserToFree on May 07, 2017, 08:49:05 PM
So glad to have seen this thread because I need it badly! I started out the year realizing we were spending more than $1000 a month on groceries and alcohol combined for 2 adults and 1 toddler- no alcohol for him though ;), and wanting to get that number down.  But it's hovered around that amount these past few months- I blame a continued failure to meal plan, expensive Costco runs, and too much shopping at Whole Foods.  Gotta up my game!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on May 08, 2017, 06:23:20 AM
Well, time to 'fess up to my Week 1 crash and burn.  Groceries were ok -- $121 total, including Aldi's, H-Mart, and the dairy delivery that covers 2 weeks.  But then we had the monthly Amazon delivery of TP and OTC meds and some other household stuff ($74), and then just a bunch of extras that I characterize as takeout ($180). 

The biggest hit was DD's birthday party -- the one thing she wanted was Chinese takeout with her friends, so fine, there's $60 right there, but whatever, it's once a year.  But then I stupidly scheduled a medical procedure with anesthesia for that same morning, meaning I was out of it and couldn't bake her a cake, so DH went to the delicious local bakery to buy her one and (of course) saw a pie that he just had to have as well, and then (of course) after the anesthesia I was starving for a bagel, which led to another trip, and so all in all that one day probably cost us $150.

Ugh.  Going to have to really focus in the rest of the month, given that I'm already almost 2/3 of the way through the monthly target -- and next week needs to be a Wegman's run for the stuff Aldi's doesn't have.  But Sunday I was back on the horse with cooking and weekly prep.  So at least I can try to minimize the damage from here on out.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on May 08, 2017, 03:23:47 PM
We're on track so far, at just over $100 for the month. I'm aiming for about $100/week.

Our biggest conundrum right now is snack foods. Buying in bulk is cheaper, but then we eat more of it (the bag of trail mix I bought at Costco is in big trouble...). We buy packs of peanut butter crackers, but those aren't very healthy. I also eat a lot of popcorn, but that's not good for when we want something portable. Any ideas for cheap, portable, healthy, and moderately tasty snacks?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Well Respected Man on May 09, 2017, 07:08:11 AM
We're on track so far, at just over $100 for the month. I'm aiming for about $100/week.

Our biggest conundrum right now is snack foods. Buying in bulk is cheaper, but then we eat more of it (the bag of trail mix I bought at Costco is in big trouble...). We buy packs of peanut butter crackers, but those aren't very healthy. I also eat a lot of popcorn, but that's not good for when we want something portable. Any ideas for cheap, portable, healthy, and moderately tasty snacks?

Why is popcorn not portable? A 1-gallon food storage bag should fit in a backpack. For the trail mix, buy the 3-lb bags of almonds and walnuts, and throw in some raisins, a bunch of peanuts, and a few M&Ms. It should be cheaper than the premium Costco mix. Portion it out into small bags to reduce consumption, if necessary. Add oats and maple syrup to make your own granola bars. Bananas are a very cheap portable snack, as are peanut butter sandwiches. Peanut butter and banana on a bagel is about 500 cals for about $1. For chips and pretzels, I look for anything that is around $2-2.50/lb.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Travis on May 09, 2017, 09:01:36 AM
We're on track so far, at just over $100 for the month. I'm aiming for about $100/week.

Our biggest conundrum right now is snack foods. Buying in bulk is cheaper, but then we eat more of it (the bag of trail mix I bought at Costco is in big trouble...). We buy packs of peanut butter crackers, but those aren't very healthy. I also eat a lot of popcorn, but that's not good for when we want something portable. Any ideas for cheap, portable, healthy, and moderately tasty snacks?

On the go my family eats a lot of almonds.  I'm always pleasantly surprised how quickly they can fill you up.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: haypug16 on May 10, 2017, 10:46:02 AM
With the month 1/3rd over I'm on track to hit my $300 goal for May. Total spent so far is $106.38
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: CutTheFat on May 10, 2017, 08:08:14 PM
Today I went to Aldi for groceries then hit Stop & Shop's reduced produce section.  When I got home, I made fruit salad with last week's fruit, a cantaloupe, orange and pear that were ripe and since its all cut up and in a salad I bet it will be gone by this time tomorrow. I packed lunches .  I made myself a latte and worked on the budget and paid bills.  Then I made homemade gnocchi with leftover instantpot "baked" potatoes.  I made a fantastic sauce with sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms and crushed tomatoes.  I also wilted arugula with olive oil and butter and layered it between the gnocchi and sauce and topped it with pecorino romano and fresh basil.  It came out amazing!!!  I am so happy that even though we are spending about a third of what we used to spend on groceries, we are eating better than anyone I know.  We are not getting take out and very rarely going out to eat.  It's easy to stay out of restaurants with home cooking like this.  Oh and my freezer is full of meat with all the great deals that I have been finding in the last couple months.     
   
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on May 11, 2017, 03:56:04 AM
Thanks for the ideas. I tried portioning the trail mix into smaller bags, but what can I say, I have no willpower :)  Might try making granola bars again (the last recipe I used was heavy on the almond butter, so kind of spendy), or maybe some Lara bar-type concoctions. Not sure what the cost on those would be though.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on May 11, 2017, 07:33:20 AM
sitting at 65 bucks so far this month.  no stock up sales just depleting reserves.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Heart of Tin on May 11, 2017, 08:19:35 AM
I stopped snacking when I started tracking my food spending on the last food spending thread. Three square meals just costs less. I treat snacks like treats, and therefore I try to minimize outright spending instead of  per unit spending. I term this sort of purchase as "bonus food" in my head. I'm still going to buy/consume my three square meals like normal, so any further spending/consuming is "bonus" and should be minimized. So, if I decide that I want a snack food I compare the total cost of the packet which usually leads me to the single serving snacks. While they are much more expensive than the large packets per unit, they actually cause me to spend/consume less. I treat dairy and alcohol (to an extent) the same way. They're all bonus foods.

The cinco de mayo get-together ended up being cancelled, because everyone was tired an no longer wanted to go, which was fine by me. For my Monday work lunch outing, I ordered a baked potato which was considered a side item. Menu price was $2.50, but I was charged $3.00. Since I was planning to give the waitress a $5 bill anyway I decided not to quibble. The extra came out of her tip.

Total spending for the month: $11.50 Aldi run + $5.50 farmers market + $5.00 work outing = $22 over 10 days. Running under budget so far. I might stop by Hyvee today for $.99/lb strawberries and Aldi for $.49/dozen eggs plus a couple of items to round out two or three dishes for the coming week.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on May 11, 2017, 06:25:14 PM
OK, after 2 months of shockingly high food spending and 3 weeks into being parents, we've finally come out of newborn fog enough to start cooking again. I've got a bunch of root veg + pumpkins to turn into soup, and enough pantry staples that it might be time for a couple of months of eating down the pantry.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on May 15, 2017, 07:55:23 AM
Sigh.  Downward spiral this month -- last week's birthday party topped off by this week's dinner party and Wegman's run.  And after working until midnight Thursday and until 9 Friday on a huge project that will continue through most of this week, I made the conscious decision that this week is going to be largely deli and no-cook options, so that jacked up the groceries by another $50 or so.  Weekly $201 groceries, $44 household, and $10 takeout (school "spirit night" at McD's), for a monthly total so far of $321 groceries, $118 household, and $190 takeout.  Ugh, read it and weep.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on May 15, 2017, 01:02:20 PM
I spent $54 this week, bringing the monthly total to $151 so I'm well on target. I got a couple large packages of chicken breast on sale, from which I made a bunch of individual-size servings of diced chicken I can use on top of salads for lunch, as well as a large batch of chicken fried rice for hubby. I also got a box of green tea, yogurt and several bags of cheese, which brought my total over $25 so I could use my $5 off $25 purchase coupon.

At another store I stocked up on pancake syrup which was on sale (5 bottles at $2.50 each). Yes that's a ridiculous amount of syrup, but it was one of those "Buy 5 get $5 off" deals, and its not going to go bad so why not.

Rite-Aid had a "Buy 1 Get 1 50% Off" deal on sunscreen, and I also had a $5 off 2 coupon, so I got 2 bottles. This is one of those things I need to stock up on every year at the start of summer (we hike a lot so we always need to have lots of sunscreen handy), so I am glad to have that purchase taken care of for the year at a reasonable price.

The rest was a small amount of produce, we had lots of everything else on hand already. I was happy to get some stockpiling done and still stay within budget.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on May 16, 2017, 01:54:05 AM
We have been spending $80-120 a week in groceries but doing much much better on take away and eating out. Even Mr Pancakes has been taking lunch a few times each week.

Are any other Australians planning to watch "War on Waste" on ABC tonight? I'm hoping it will shame us into being less wasteful. We are not too bad but we do throw a bit of fresh stuff out when cooking gets too hard. I also need to get a reusable coffee cup because I need to accept that I'm not going to give up fancy take away coffee and the number of cups I throw away is ridiculous.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on May 16, 2017, 07:43:41 AM
I spent $54 this week, bringing the monthly total to $151 so I'm well on target. I got a couple large packages of chicken breast on sale, from which I made a bunch of individual-size servings of diced chicken I can use on top of salads for lunch, as well as a large batch of chicken fried rice for hubby. I also got a box of green tea, yogurt and several bags of cheese, which brought my total over $25 so I could use my $5 off $25 purchase coupon.

At another store I stocked up on pancake syrup which was on sale (5 bottles at $2.50 each). Yes that's a ridiculous amount of syrup, but it was one of those "Buy 5 get $5 off" deals, and its not going to go bad so why not.

Rite-Aid had a "Buy 1 Get 1 50% Off" deal on sunscreen, and I also had a $5 off 2 coupon, so I got 2 bottles. This is one of those things I need to stock up on every year at the start of summer (we hike a lot so we always need to have lots of sunscreen handy), so I am glad to have that purchase taken care of for the year at a reasonable price.

The rest was a small amount of produce, we had lots of everything else on hand already. I was happy to get some stockpiling done and still stay within budget.

Woops, I forgot I spent $~8 at Target on whole wheat flour... so my weekly total is $62.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on May 17, 2017, 04:18:58 AM
We have been spending $80-120 a week in groceries but doing much much better on take away and eating out. Even Mr Pancakes has been taking lunch a few times each week.

Are any other Australians planning to watch "War on Waste" on ABC tonight? I'm hoping it will shame us into being less wasteful. We are not too bad but we do throw a bit of fresh stuff out when cooking gets too hard. I also need to get a reusable coffee cup because I need to accept that I'm not going to give up fancy take away coffee and the number of cups I throw away is ridiculous.
I watched it! Definitely a kick up the butt for my wasteful habits. I'll be spending a little money to save some plastic waste soon (reusable produce bags!)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: JanetJackson on May 17, 2017, 11:58:01 AM
I'm pretty new to the forum, BUT I need to get my grocery spending down!
I spend almost 300/mo right now and my current goal is to get to $200 without eating saltines.  I eat paleo/whole foods ISH but I add in rice and beans since my gut tolerates them.  Occasionally, I can handle goat cheese too.

I'm in!!!!

I haven't gotten groceries yet this month, but have spend stupid money on gas station things, which chips into my grocery budget.  I'm going to start upon my next grocery trip and see how long I can make each trip last, then average out the thirty day cost.  Thanks for letting me jump in!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Bird In Hand on May 17, 2017, 02:05:23 PM
We spent $1,129 at the grocery store last month.  Another $137 eating out -- though about $90 of that was while on vacation.  Likely another ~$50 in groceries from Amazon.

This is for a family of five -- two adults and three children under the age of 10. 

Last year we spent $15,600+ on groceries, plus another $2,500 eating out.  Plus more groceries on Amazon...I'll guess $2,000.

I guess the good news is we have ample room for improvement?  :o
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on May 18, 2017, 07:23:46 PM
OK, after 2 months of shockingly high food spending and 3 weeks into being parents, we've finally come out of newborn fog enough to start cooking again. I've got a bunch of root veg + pumpkins to turn into soup, and enough pantry staples that it might be time for a couple of months of eating down the pantry.
Yup, this month we've come in under our grocery and eating out categories. Fingers crossed we get organised enough for DH to take lunch when he's back at work next week.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Well Respected Man on May 19, 2017, 02:34:57 PM
We're at $422/$500 for the month. For various reasons, I am getting pushback, and so we have been grilling a lot of food this week, which turns out to be pretty expensive compared to lentils and rice. We have two more shopping trips scheduled,  and a holiday weekend coming up, so we won't make $500. But we're still running at about 55% of last year's spend.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Travis on May 19, 2017, 08:36:57 PM
We're on track to spend around $250 this month on groceries, but thanks to a weekend getaway with family we're up to $240 on eating out (which included buying dinner for 6).  Now that we're just 4 weeks from moving, we're keeping an eye on everything in the pantry and shaping our meals and purchases so that we're as near to zero food in the house as possible by moving day.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on May 20, 2017, 01:16:30 AM
It is just not easy buying cheap bead in the grocery store. The cheapest is often sold out. I should try more often to bake bread myself, even though it is a bit time consuming. Or start buying bread early in the morning on my way to work. Maybe the grocery store than actually has the cheap type of bread in stock. For the moment I buy bulk whenever I see cheap or medium cheap bread and freeze it.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on May 21, 2017, 11:03:56 AM
Despite having a nasty sinus headache all day yesterday, I made it out for grocery shopping and managed to stay on track. I spent $43.43, for a MTD total of $201.52. I have one more shop for the month next weekend so I should be right on target for $250.

I had another $5/$25 coupon for one store yesterday, so I scoured the ads and coupons and carefully planned a stock-up trip which put me just over $25 before the coupon. I got a giant pack of string cheese, 3 large tubs of yogurt, 7 bags of frozen vegetables, 2 bottles of cooking oil, and some bananas for a total of $20.97.

Went to another store where I had ecoupons for free crackers and a free candy bar, plus stocked up on cheap eggs (.77/dozen) and strawberries (.88/lb). I didn't have anything planned for dinner yet (due to aforementioned headache), but I found a marked down stir fry kit that contained fresh chopped vegetables and sauce, and also found a marked down steak, so a cheap, easy dinner was taken care of.

Then I hit one last store for salad stuff, bread, and milk.

Work is going to be extra stupid next week and I'll likely be home late every day, so I'm doing my best to get some meal prep done today and plan some easy meals for the week.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Ebrat on May 22, 2017, 12:38:54 PM
We've spent $250 in 3 weeks with a goal of $100/week, so a little under budget. Leaving on vacation in a couple days, so that number probably won't change much between now and the end of the month (though eating out will be another story...). Yay!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on May 22, 2017, 02:18:26 PM
We are going to visit Sweden for a 4 day canoeing trip from thursday to sunday. We will do some big time grocery shopping over there, because it is a lot cheaper there than at home and they generally have more choice. Especially meat and cheese will be bought in bulk. The large grocery stores at the border are opened on sundays there.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on May 22, 2017, 03:38:44 PM
I always feel so awkward posting in this thread when I see how amazing some of you are in your grocery spending compared to me! But, incremental progress, right? And with 3 kids (one being the teenage athlete who eats more than the rest of us combined), I suppose it's not really apples to apples compared to a household of 2.

But, anyway, here's where we are this month: our target is still $1200 total food spending for the month. We spent three full days at Disneyland last week where we ate out all three meals each day (although my in-laws paid for one), and we're sitting at $969.59 for the month. I think we have a chance to make the $1200 goal this month as long as we don't go crazy this week, since that is artificially high with three days at Disney.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Rosy on May 22, 2017, 06:39:09 PM
@jillinsandiego - I sympathize, teenage boys do eat as much as two adults:)

Right on target with the food budget, $400 is the goal, but $350 actually looks possible - been using food from the pantry and freezer and harvesting the garden bounty like crazy. We are having a bumper crop of tomatoes and peppers.
So far we only went out once, to Red Robin, which turned out to be downright expensive. GC to the rescue, but still spent way too much.
Mr. R. discovered a new beer he likes called Leinenkugel-Canoe Paddeler - 8.99 a six pack - BOGO - so he picked up four:) Beyond tha,t only our usual purchases at Aldi and some BOGO's at Publix and Winn Dixie.

Best part - this is the first year I am harvesting a ton of different kinds of mint, lemon verbena and other herbs to dry for my own tea. I'm having fun experimenting with different tea mixtures. Right now the dining room and kitchen windows are all hung with bunches of herbs:)

I even have everything needed for a killer Mojito, including the Mojito Mint, so I am considering this month a big success - so far anyway.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Drole on May 23, 2017, 05:30:46 AM
Rosy: those herbal teas sound great. I should work towards that.

One of my crazy splurges is the world's-most-delicious-cream (fresh, raw cream so thick you sometimes have to spoon it out of the container). Anyway, the cream is definitely a luxury but i've been continuing to get it bc it is just amazing. But now that I am also tracking more on my fitness goals, I think I have to eliminate it (and most/all other dairy). So hopefully this will not only improve the grocery spend but also the waistline.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on May 28, 2017, 09:00:20 AM
I did my final shopping for May yesterday and spent < $25. I was hoping there would be some better sales for Memorial Day, but I didn't see much I was interested in so pretty much just got what I needed. Although as I type this I just remembered I'm out of mayonnaise and need some. Anyway, I'm at $226 for the month right now, so I can totally splurge on mayo and reach my monthly goal.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on May 29, 2017, 02:59:42 AM
My grocery spending is off the record now, as I forgot to bring my bank cards to the grocery shop yesterday, where we did some big shopping. My DH has to pay for us and his cards do not track his spending in the way that my cards do. So this is a bit unfortunate.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Travis on May 29, 2017, 07:20:49 PM
I want to say we crushed groceries this month, with food and household items coming in at $300; however, we spent $150 on vacation food which taken together equals our normal grocery spending.  There's also the fact that we're a couple weeks out from moving. Each food purchase now comes with the question "will we consume this before we leave?"  We're going to spend half of June with the in-laws which will result in them feeding us nearly every meal.  I'm sure we'll buy some groceries to offset, but they're very giving hosts and we'll have to be sneaky in order to contribute.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on June 01, 2017, 11:22:25 AM
Well, we ended up at $1265 for May, which is not bad considering there were three days/two nights at Disneyland in there. Also, compared to May of last year when we spent $1909 on food, I'm happy with the progress. It's amazing how much impact simple awareness really has. I don't feel like we are particularly deprived compared to last year! I know we still have a lot of room for improvement, too.

My goal for June is $1200, or preferably under. I'm hoping over the summer we can start working towards a $1000 goal, but it will depend on how many of my teenager's friends I'm feeding on a regular basis! I'm happy to do it if it means I know where they are spending their time...
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on June 03, 2017, 08:37:00 AM
Well, May crashed and burned.  Work got ridiculous, we had a bunch of family events that took up my Sunday shopping and cooking time, plus baseball and end-of year school events and wah wah wah whatever whiny excuse.  Oh, and the ice cream store is now open again.  :-)  My "groceries" were reasonable -- about $200 at Wegman's and $100 at Aldi's for the last few weeks, even including a ton of meat and deli stock-up -- but I completely lost track of the takeout, which DH buys.  I have to guess we probably jacked up closer to $1k total for the month, which sucks and reminds me why it was so easy to let things get out of control in the first place.

So, back at it again.  Increasing target to $650 to cover mandatory family ice cream trips, which DH will divorce me (and kids will choose to stay with him) if I try to cut.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on June 04, 2017, 08:33:47 AM
First shop of the month was good at $70.50. Now I have a fridge full of food requiring prep... can't talk, blanching broccoli :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DayLight on June 05, 2017, 08:15:02 AM
I'd like to join in!

I'm feeling good that we beat our budgeted 1300 (for groceries, fast food, restaurant and alcohol) in May, and we came in at 998. It is amazing to have that 300 to go toward debt payoff instead.

The budget was based on average spending for the past year,  so it really is an improvement. (A few years ago, it was higher!)

I lowered the budget to 1000 for June.  We do have a birthday coming up, but I think if I keep tracking it we can make it work.

So far: 196


Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on June 05, 2017, 10:01:33 AM
Welcome Daylight! Finally, someone with a higher target so I don't feel outrageous. :) For my family of five I shoot for $1200 as my monthly max. It does include all groceries, eating out, and a moderate amount of food/drink that goes into neighborhood socializing/ feeding other kids when they're hanging out at our house. Last year's monthly average was $1774, without any attempts to curtail spending at all. It's incredible to me that we're easily saving $500 a month compared to last year just by being more aware. I would still like to reduce mine further, eventually under $1000/mo, but if I keep our monthly average under $1200 this entire year I'll be pretty happy.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on June 05, 2017, 11:17:51 PM
Things are not looking so good at my grocery shopping. I spent 4000 NOK last month. That is the same as last year's monthly average. The previous months were around 3000 NOK a month.
And this month I know my DH paid for a large portion of groceries twice, so the total is above 5000 NOK, I'm sure.

Only positive is that last year's average included my DH doing a much bigger part of the shopping than he is doing this year. And I have been stocking up on some staples and meat.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on June 07, 2017, 06:33:57 AM
Week 1:  ok, with an asterisk.  Did the periodic Wegman's run for $150 total, which got us a lot of food that will last past this week, so on budget and by and large avoided the "look at all the cool stuff!" Wegman's temptation, even with DD with me. 

The asterisk is that we also began fostering kittens, so spent another $66 on supplies.  But I think that is more appropriately categorized as a "kid" expense than groceries.  ;-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on June 11, 2017, 10:55:08 AM
Week 2 total is $88.11, for a monthly total of $158.11. So I'm a bit on the high side, with $91 to go for the rest of the month, but I've stocked up pretty heavily on meat and other staples. I should have plenty for produce and dairy for the rest of the month, I'll just have to be vigilant and exercise some self control on the sales :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Alf91 on June 11, 2017, 12:56:04 PM
Did groceries yesterday, spent $21 for the week (still need milk at $4).

I buy in-season / on sale produce (ie lettuce was 99 cents, cucs 75 cents, peppers 50 cents).
I don't buy meat.
Cheap protein: tofu (1.49), dried beans (2.49), 100% peanuts peanut butter (2.99), plain yogurt (1.69)
Cheap grains: brown rice (2.49), whole wheat noodles (1.00), oats (1.99).
I shop the discount racks - can usually get fruit for half price, bread for half price, etc.
I make homemade baked goods - flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, etc is all cheap - I make pancakes, muffins, loaves (get the discounted bananas when they're starting to brown and throw 'em in the freezer).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on June 12, 2017, 09:43:25 AM
So mediocre again.  This week was $172 for groceries, which included $33 biweekly dairy delivery and $36 on beer.  Could have been better, but I'm soloing with the kids all week, which resulted in both the beer stockup and ending up at Safeway because of location (and BOY their prices have gotten ridiculous since I was there last).  Plus DD agreed to cook all week, which required actual menus and recipes vs. my initial plan to eat out of the freezer.  But, hey, you want to cook for me, I'll buy you the salmon you need for your recipe, ya know?

So $322 total so far for groceries + $68 household (where Safeway + 2 kids really killed me) + $18 takeout (lunch out with kiddos).  Next week should be cheaper -- kids will be at camp, so lunches are mostly covered, and I won't have DD wanting to make chicken cordon bleu. :-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on June 12, 2017, 09:48:41 AM
We are a little high so far this month. We had some extra spending this past weekend because we were camping to support my brother on an insane 100 mile trail race. Hopefully we can rein it in the rest of the month though; we aren't TOO far up. A few good, inexpensive days will help.

Our big food-related challenge this month is that the 16 year old has decided to be a vegetarian as of yesterday...I'm sure it has the potential to save money, but I think there will be some trial and error while we adapt. He is going to have to take a LOT of initiative to help meal plan if he thinks this is going to work. I am skeptical that he will stick with it, but we'll try to support his attempt. This is the same 16 year old who requested Fogo de Chao for his 16th birthday meal...
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on June 12, 2017, 10:42:51 AM
we're averaging 314 a month plus 60 for the cow we bought.  spending has increased due to alcohol increasing.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: fruitfly on June 12, 2017, 01:24:48 PM
I need to be here desperately. My budgeting software tells me I spend an average of $1,512 per month on groceries. For two adults and two small children. Ugh.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on June 13, 2017, 04:13:03 PM
I need to be here desperately. My budgeting software tells me I spend an average of $1,512 per month on groceries. For two adults and two small children. Ugh.

Welcome!

I tracked for two years before finally (this year) trying to do something about it. I've seen wonderful success so far, although I'm nowhere near as frugal as many of the posters here. I figure any progress is worth celebrating though!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on June 14, 2017, 03:45:28 AM
My local butcher does packs of meat. I'm going to get one and meal plan around it, see how long we can make it last.

Other than that, I have everything I need to buy groceries locally on foot. Since I will be walking and carrying a baby, that should help limit me to only what we need, no snacks, and not spending too long making decisions.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: afuera on June 14, 2017, 08:39:45 AM
How much chicken is too much chicken?  The Foodarama Fiesta on my street has chicken breast on sale for $0.97/lb and our Aldi has chicken thighs for $0.69/lb.  Do I buy as much as I can fit in the freezer?

Are these prices for boneless or bone-in meat? In my area, those would be amazing prices for boneless, but for bone-in those are pretty common sale prices which repeat every 6 - 8 weeks or so. So, if bone-in I'd buy myself enough to last a month or two knowing I'd see that price again before long. If boneless I'd buy as much as physically possible. This is where making a grocery price book can be very useful.

Boneless :)  Funny thing is I wouldn't have even recognized it as a good price a few weeks ago...

$33 later we now have 33lbs of chicken.  2 lbs in the slow cooker for some shredded chicken we can keep in the fridge and quickly add to salads and other dishes, 2 lbs in the fridge for a few chicken meals we will make this week, and the rest in the freezer.  We most likely won't need to buy chicken again until April or May!

We are down to our last chicken breast!!  33 lbs lasted us from almost exactly 4 months.
I am sad that I'm going to have to buy regular priced chicken breasts again...
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DayLight on June 14, 2017, 11:16:12 AM
Afuera- your original post about the chicken inspired me to stock up on meat when it's on sale. Go you!  (I haven't seen boneless chicken breast for less than 1.99 here.)

We are at 348 which is good (for us) for half the month.  We will see. Our five-kid weekends tend to cost about 1/8th of the food budget, and we only have one of those this month.

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on June 14, 2017, 12:46:37 PM
We just had half a cod for dinner that my DH caught in the sea some time ago and was kept in the freezer.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: JanF on June 15, 2017, 04:06:42 PM
I'd like to join in! I started my own challenge in April but just saw this post now.
My goal is to spend $250-300 monthly average for 2 adults and spend a little less on snacks and alcohol (I track this separately from groceries in my excel). So far we're doing pretty good so I might push it to $200-250 average.
My main problem is having a tiny freezer...it's one of those bottom drawer ones so it's really difficult to bulk buy meat. How do you guys utilize your freezer space? When I read about all these bulk buying and meal prepping I imagine that maybe you have a freezer box?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on June 16, 2017, 04:24:04 AM
I'd like to join in! I started my own challenge in April but just saw this post now.
My goal is to spend $250-300 monthly average for 2 adults and spend a little less on snacks and alcohol (I track this separately from groceries in my excel). So far we're doing pretty good so I might push it to $200-250 average.
My main problem is having a tiny freezer...it's one of those bottom drawer ones so it's really difficult to bulk buy meat. How do you guys utilize your freezer space? When I read about all these bulk buying and meal prepping I imagine that maybe you have a freezer box?

I mostly bulk buy things that don't need cold storage. But our freezer has 3 drawers. Earlier we had 4. And we have a second combi cool-freeze with 3 drawers. We use the fridge part for beer (we have home brewed beer in large casks). When our second combi was broken, I had a real challenge storing all our stuff.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: doublethinkmoney on June 16, 2017, 06:06:51 AM
Im totally in! We just moved in with my in laws and are trying to rework a multigenerational household budget. My goal right now is $800 a month for the 5 of us (including my toddler) (I'm sure we can reduce in the future).

One quick thing I do to reduce spending is look at my local grocery store blog that matches up sales with coupons and the Ibotta app. I see what I can make with that and will buy 2-3 meals for the week and lunches/snacks for my daughter. My FIL makes most the meals in the week so I have to give space for him to shop and make things too.

1) check local grocery store blog for deal match ups

2) print off coupons of brands I use and stock when on sale with coupons.

3) use the Ibotta App (rebate app that I have earned $200 in gift cards @ Amazon, Target, Wholefoods, Starbucks etc) more on this at bottom. Sign up at https://ibotta.com/r/gaipxfa

4) buy grocery store coupons on eBay (only store coupons like $5 off of $40) I buy like 5 for $4 still saves me $21 over 5 weeks!

5) Use the BevRAGE app to get rebates deposited into my PayPal on beer purchases.
Get cash with the bevRAGE app when you buy beer, wine and liquor. Sign up using my referral code: KAELKJYX
https://www.bevrage.com/promo/KAELKJYX


The Ibotta app is great and I'll check it if I can get money back on a different brand item or combine it with a sale. I just started a few months ago and already earned so much on items I'm buying anyways (including The good IPA beer my husband loves!) They have deals on Groupon, Uber and EBay!

Use my referral code, gaipxfa, and you can get a $10 welcome bonus. Sign up at https://ibotta.com/r/gaipxfa




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: doublethinkmoney on June 16, 2017, 06:13:19 AM
I'll add that we buy whatever we can organic in bulk at Costco and fill in at the local grocery store.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on June 16, 2017, 06:47:07 AM
I logged into my internet bank today and the beta version of the software told me how much I had spent on groceries the last 30 days. I clicked on the like version to make sure they keep posting this.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on June 16, 2017, 08:10:58 AM
My main problem is having a tiny freezer...it's one of those bottom drawer ones so it's really difficult to bulk buy meat. How do you guys utilize your freezer space? When I read about all these bulk buying and meal prepping I imagine that maybe you have a freezer box?

Having only a tiny freezer will limit what you can do, but it doesn't completely rule out stocking up. The first trick is to repackage as much as you can. For example, if you get a good deal on chicken breast, don't just throw the full styrofoam tray of meat into the freezer, portion it into meal size servings in freezer bags then freeze those. Or, if you know you will be using some of it for say stir-fry, go ahead and dice it up, then bag it and freeze it. Whole chickens on sale? Don't try to fit them as-is into the freezer, buy a couple and cook them up over a day or two, shred the meat, and then freeze it in meal-size portions. If you buy packaged stuff like hot pockets or ice pops or whatever, take them out of the box and store them loose. Practice your tetris skills :)

Also, make it a point to meal plan around what is on sale that week. Chicken breast is super cheap? Then that's what you're eating this week. You can have ground beef/steak/fish or whatever next week when its on sale. You might need to vary which store(s) you shop at from week to week to make this work, and eat more vegetarian on the weeks when there aren't good sales anywhere. And as Linda_Norway pointed out, you can always stock up on other items that don't require freezing (canned tuna for example).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: afuera on June 16, 2017, 08:35:26 AM
My main problem is having a tiny freezer...it's one of those bottom drawer ones so it's really difficult to bulk buy meat. How do you guys utilize your freezer space? When I read about all these bulk buying and meal prepping I imagine that maybe you have a freezer box?

Having only a tiny freezer will limit what you can do, but it doesn't completely rule out stocking up. The first trick is to repackage as much as you can. For example, if you get a good deal on chicken breast, don't just throw the full styrofoam tray of meat into the freezer, portion it into meal size servings in freezer bags then freeze those. Or, if you know you will be using some of it for say stir-fry, go ahead and dice it up, then bag it and freeze it. Whole chickens on sale? Don't try to fit them as-is into the freezer, buy a couple and cook them up over a day or two, shred the meat, and then freeze it in meal-size portions. If you buy packaged stuff like hot pockets or ice pops or whatever, take them out of the box and store them loose. Practice your tetris skills :)

+1!  We bought 4-5 7lb styrofoam trays of chicken, cooked 2lbs , kept 2lbs in the fridge, and repackaged the rest in Ziploc bags to freeze in the freezer.  We have a bottom drawer freezer like you and were able to fit close to 30lbs of chicken in it (picture is in this thread a few pages back) so its definitely possible!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: JanF on June 16, 2017, 08:58:20 AM
Thanks! We have frozen fruit and veggies as well and I like having different kind of meats/fish so I think that's where I'm having the most trouble with keeping things in my freezer....I bulk buy ground beef, chicken, and fish and they all go in the freezer unless I'm using them in a couple of days.

Also, it drives me nuts every time my husband pull out stuff from the freezer to make smoothies and he doesn't squeeze air out from the bag before putting it back in. YOU'RE TAKING UP MY PRECIOUS STORAGE SPACE!! Hahahaha
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on June 16, 2017, 09:08:40 AM
Also, it drives me nuts every time my husband pull out stuff from the freezer to make smoothies and he doesn't squeeze air out from the bag before putting it back in. YOU'RE TAKING UP MY PRECIOUS STORAGE SPACE!! Hahahaha

Ooooh mine does this too, and of course half the time he doesn't even zip the bag back up properly. I'm like WHY IS THIS SO HARD?? :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on June 17, 2017, 07:07:08 AM
This week I'm going to buy a "weekly family pack" from my butcher and see how many weeks I can make it last! I've also successfully gone shopping on foot, so I'll be getting our fresh fruit & veg that way, and get heavy packaged food (eg frozen and pantry items) delivered infrequently. That will keep me out of the snack aisles :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Alf91 on June 18, 2017, 05:13:44 PM
$24.57 for the week!

frozen blueberries 3.99
cauliflower 1.76
grapes 2.10
raspberries 1.76
cucumber 0.75
bananas 0.80
green beans 0.83
tomato 0.33
kale 1.50
ricotta cheese 1.50
yogurt 1.50
rice 1.99
bagels 1.50
cereal 1.50
crackers 1.66
english muffins 0.99
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: doublethinkmoney on June 19, 2017, 10:18:58 AM
$24.57 for the week!

frozen blueberries 3.99
cauliflower 1.76
grapes 2.10
raspberries 1.76
cucumber 0.75
bananas 0.80
green beans 0.83
tomato 0.33
kale 1.50
ricotta cheese 1.50
yogurt 1.50
rice 1.99
bagels 1.50
cereal 1.50
crackers 1.66
english muffins 0.99
What do you meals look like through the day and week?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on June 19, 2017, 01:43:16 PM
Did a pretty small shop this week and came in under budget at $35.26. I got a bunch of produce, milk, yogurt, lunch meat, and cheese for the week, plus stocked up on a couple boxes of pasta, a jar of applesauce, brown sugar, 6 lbs of brown rice (on sale for .74/lb!), and splurged on a pint of gelato.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Alf91 on June 19, 2017, 07:01:00 PM
$24.57 for the week!

frozen blueberries 3.99
cauliflower 1.76
grapes 2.10
raspberries 1.76
cucumber 0.75
bananas 0.80
green beans 0.83
tomato 0.33
kale 1.50
ricotta cheese 1.50
yogurt 1.50
rice 1.99
bagels 1.50
cereal 1.50
crackers 1.66
english muffins 0.99
What do you meals look like through the day and week?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Breakfast is usually oatmeal. On weekends I sometimes make pancakes from scratch. Or scrambled eggs and toast.

Lunch is a big salad: some kind of leafy green (kale, spinach, romaine), chopped raw veggies, chickpeas or black beans, maybe some cheese. And a piece of fruit.

Dinner is usually a grain (rice, pasta, barley), a protein (tofu, beans, eggs, occasionally meat), and a pile of stir-fried or steamed veggies.

Snacks - toast w/ peanut butter, fruit, yogurt.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: RayO on June 21, 2017, 09:10:08 AM
I'm joining in too.

My goal is to spend $200 per month on all grocery and household items for two adults.

 Some weeks I'm able to spend about $25-$30, but when there is a good sale on meat I stock up and end up spending around $60-$80. We've really cut back and have completely eliminated many items already to get to this level of spending.

I plan to achieve the $200 goal by:
Eating less meat (I already use less than what a recipe calls for, but I think I can stretch this even further)
Buying a little less fruit (Usually some fruit ends up in the garbage from spoilage)
Make my own yogurt and granola (I already purchase the large tubs of yogurt, but it still adds up and we eat quite a bit of it)
If the budget is very tight towards the end of the month just buy necessities and make meals from food in the freezer/pantry
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Feeling Blessed on June 24, 2017, 11:52:23 AM
Hi All- I'm a late start but would like to join as well.  I've been working on this this year.  Wins so far... I planted a (small) veggie garden.  I'm being super committed to using stuff before it goes bad... come hell or high water if something is getting close to its expiration I find a way to make something out of it.  I'm shopping less and using our local discount stores more... Pricerite really seems like a find to me.  I cut back on booze.  😰  I'm trying to cut off eating out suggestions from the family at the pass... getting myself in the habit of stalling for 10 minutes while I think of something to eat at home that seems to be in the ballpark of what they are craving.  Moderate success so far.  Also, i'm finally keeping track of prices on our most used items.  I am shocked at the variations.  I have a free app on my phone called intellilist.  it is awesome.  Keeps track of best prices so I can use it for easy reference anytime.  Family of 4 plus 2 dogs... all in food spending has been $1.5k/mo for years.... I know... i know.... aiming for $600-800 this year.  So far on higher side of that range but doing fairlt well.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Alf91 on June 24, 2017, 01:25:24 PM
$30.89 this week:

grapes 0.99 (reg 3.36)
bananas 0.37
cantaloupe 1.50 (reg 2.99)

broccoli 1.66 (reg 2.99)
green onions 0.69
avocado 1.50 (reg 1.99)
sweet potatoes 1.55
tomato 0.29
lettuce 0.75 (reg 1.49)

whole grain noodles 1.48 (reg 2.49)

whole wheat bagels 1.50 (reg 2.00)
kaiser buns 2.69

eggs 1.97

edamame 1.99

pastrami 0.75 (reg 1.25)
smoked turkey 0.75 (reg 1.25)
burger patties 3.00 (reg 9.98)
chicken thighs 3.61 (reg 8.30)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on June 26, 2017, 09:42:31 AM
Well, we ended up stocking up at Costco AND doing a Trader Joes run in the past week (stocked up on things that are cheaper there; it isn't convenient so we don't go often, and were in the area). Our food spending is $1199 right now for the month. Unfortunately I KNOW I'll need to get lettuce and milk before the week is over, so it will go over our target of $1200. Our eating out is WAY down though; we are at $283 for the month, compared to $584 last month. We are also adjusting to making lunches and snack for the youngest now that she goes to the summer program at the elementary school instead of the much more expensive preschool that included food.

I feel so discouraged that I haven't been doing a better job with this, but I have to remind myself that we spent $1774 average monthly on food last year, so it's still an improvement even if it isn't where I really want it to be.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on June 26, 2017, 11:34:01 AM
OK, so good and bad.  The flier this week was DS and I took a five-state road trip, so there was much junk food for meals on the road ($60), plus we treated my Granny to dinner out and ice cream ($45).  Oh, and I found a fancy tea shop and stocked up on teas ($34), and did a big CVS run ($60).

Total for the week = $154 groceries + $105 takeout + $67 household, bringing the MTD to $474 groceries, $123 takeout, and $135 household.  So I am just over my $600 target for food + household, although Unfortunately, while DH did an $80 grocery run while I was gone, I still needed to pick up a few lot of things DH forgot while I was out of town, like, oh, stuff for the kids' lunches at camp, food for the week, and food for the rescue kitties.  So total for the week is $246 groceries, $105 takeout, and $79 household; month to date is $566 groceries, $123 takeout, and $147 household.  And I still don't know how much DH spent at the deli for my mom's birthday dinner.

And the takeout, while bad this week, is at At least the takeout is significantly down from prior years.

Crap -- I also just realized that DH did a deli run while I was gone to pick up stuff for my mom's birthday dinner last night, and I have no clue how much that was.  Will have to include that in follow-up reports, assuming I can find it.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: JanetJackson on June 27, 2017, 12:00:34 PM
Got my Grocery Spending down from the $300 ish mark to $175 this month!  Yay!  I think I can chop it back even more next month.
This thread is great!  Keep the ideas and suggestions coming!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on June 28, 2017, 02:22:06 AM
I'm so happy to see everyone keeping this thread alive! I fell off the wagon big time with our baby. We have good weeks and bad weeks but I'm learning that we need to be much more organised in general in order to make cooking inexpensive meals at home convenient.

The War on Waste TV show that was on recently has made me notice how much rubbish the more expensive convenient options were creating so now I have motivation from an environmental and financial perspective to get more organised.

But we were all sick over the weekend so the groceries were neglected and takeout ensued. This weekend I have plans for freezer meals - pulled pork and a huge batch of bolognese sauce.

July we are going to track our expenses closely which is always motivating too.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: afuera on June 28, 2017, 08:22:43 AM
What are some of y'alls tips for fast food CRAVINGS.  I never have them but Hubs gets them about once a week and so far I have been unsuccessful with finding proper substitutes. 

Example: Hubs wants Taco Bell or Whataburger or Burger King or some other gross fast food thing.  I say "Hey, you want tacos? Lets go to the grocery store and get some taco fixins (or burger fixins or whatever)."  He replies that it would end up costing more to buy all the separate ingredients from the store, we would make more than he really wants (and some things don't keep well for leftovers), it would take a lot more time, and it wouldn't really be the same.  He is sort of right when I think about it so usually he just ends up running through a drive through and getting whatever he wants that evening.  This is definitely not because we don't have food in the house or quick meal options, this is solely because he doesn't want the food we have.

Help?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: TartanTallulah on June 28, 2017, 08:26:57 AM
I'm going to be working on this as a one-month challenge in July.

Our household is diminishing. One daughter, who is vegan and therefore gave me an excuse for buying lots of fancy vegan food-substitutes and exotic fruit and vegetables, has just moved out. Another daughter will be moving out in September, and she works long hours in a restaurant where she gets fed on her shift and can order a freshly-cooked pizza or pasta dish to take home when she finishes so she's quite well sorted. My son eats a lot (skinny young man, runs and lifts weights) but he's competent in the kitchen and will eat whatever is available or go out and buy what he wants. And my husband and I are away from home and managing on very simple meals and, y'know, it's been OK. It is only for one week, but one week is a pilot study.

I have a kitchen that's not as overstuffed as it was, but there's enough to last us for most of the remainder of the year if we were prepared to eat only from tins and packets and from the freezer. We won't be doing that, but I'll look at grocery purchases through a filter of, "Do we need that and do I already have something at home that I could use in its place?"

It will meld neatly with Plastic-Free July, because if I'm buying fewer groceries I'll be buying less plastic wrapping.

The one uncontrollable factor will be my husband's expenditure on working day lunches, chocolate and potato chips. I don't intend to address that at the moment. There are plenty of lower-hanging fruit to be picked off first.

I've been saying for a couple of years that I should empty and sell our 300L chest freezer because we don't need that much freezer capacity now and we have a decent sized fridge-freezer. If the month experiment works, I'll set a target date. It'll be one less appliance draining electricity and taking up space.

Numbers will follow in due course.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on June 28, 2017, 08:54:43 AM
Darn. I am still waiting for the local grocery store to have a new sale for deodorant. Now there is a sale, but they don't have it this time, and not the last time either. The previous time they sold it, I bought only 2 and not 10, slik I should have done. I regret. Normally they are 350% more expensive.

Tomorrow I plan a trip to another store which is not really on my route home from work, but also not terribly far away. There they sell some deodorants that cost 50% of the ones that I usually use. And they should also function well. I'll store up on those. They also sell cheap washing detergent. I check their website yesterday and made a list of what to buy. I usually don't read grocery store magazines, but spent an hour on it yesterday, checking most shops in the vicinity.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on June 28, 2017, 09:37:18 AM
I am irrationally happy about this and have to share! I was feeling pretty disappointed yesterday because we needed milk and a handful of other groceries to get through the rest of the week, and we were already at $1199. When we went to the store yesterday, I realized that I had $20 on ibotta that I could redeem. We only spent $17.94, so now my food spending for June is back under $1200 at $1197. We have enough food at home to get through the rest of the week with eating lunches at home. Thank you DTaggart for hooking me up with ibotta!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on June 28, 2017, 09:44:09 AM
What are some of y'alls tips for fast food CRAVINGS.  I never have them but Hubs gets them about once a week and so far I have been unsuccessful with finding proper substitutes. 

Example: Hubs wants Taco Bell or Whataburger or Burger King or some other gross fast food thing.  I say "Hey, you want tacos? Lets go to the grocery store and get some taco fixins (or burger fixins or whatever)."  He replies that it would end up costing more to buy all the separate ingredients from the store, we would make more than he really wants (and some things don't keep well for leftovers), it would take a lot more time, and it wouldn't really be the same.  He is sort of right when I think about it so usually he just ends up running through a drive through and getting whatever he wants that evening.  This is definitely not because we don't have food in the house or quick meal options, this is solely because he doesn't want the food we have.

Help?

My solution is to budget for my DH's desire to go out. 

Seriously.  This is our recurring issue, because DH wants to go out partly for the different flavors and partly as entertainment value [Note:  "it would cost more to make at home" and the like are really just cover for "I just want to go out, dammit."].  If my DH's version of "going out" were $5 at Taco Bell instead of $50 at the restaurant down the street, I'd be doing backflips with joy.  :-) 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DTaggart on June 28, 2017, 12:30:24 PM
What are some of y'alls tips for fast food CRAVINGS.  I never have them but Hubs gets them about once a week and so far I have been unsuccessful with finding proper substitutes. 

Example: Hubs wants Taco Bell or Whataburger or Burger King or some other gross fast food thing.  I say "Hey, you want tacos? Lets go to the grocery store and get some taco fixins (or burger fixins or whatever)."  He replies that it would end up costing more to buy all the separate ingredients from the store, we would make more than he really wants (and some things don't keep well for leftovers), it would take a lot more time, and it wouldn't really be the same.  He is sort of right when I think about it so usually he just ends up running through a drive through and getting whatever he wants that evening.  This is definitely not because we don't have food in the house or quick meal options, this is solely because he doesn't want the food we have.

Help?

My hubby is terrible about this sort of thing. We manage it by having the agreement that any impulse fast food spending comes out of his personal spending money, not the grocery budget. He can do whatever he wants with his spending money, not my problem!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: TartanTallulah on June 29, 2017, 03:28:27 AM
What are some of y'alls tips for fast food CRAVINGS.  I never have them but Hubs gets them about once a week and so far I have been unsuccessful with finding proper substitutes. 

Example: Hubs wants Taco Bell or Whataburger or Burger King or some other gross fast food thing.  I say "Hey, you want tacos? Lets go to the grocery store and get some taco fixins (or burger fixins or whatever)."  He replies that it would end up costing more to buy all the separate ingredients from the store, we would make more than he really wants (and some things don't keep well for leftovers), it would take a lot more time, and it wouldn't really be the same.  He is sort of right when I think about it so usually he just ends up running through a drive through and getting whatever he wants that evening.  This is definitely not because we don't have food in the house or quick meal options, this is solely because he doesn't want the food we have.

Help?

Maybe work out how much getting fast food every time your husband craves it is really costing your household in a month/a year, factoring in the cost of buying the ingredients and the fuel for cooking, then decide whether to talk to him about it, with numbers, and come up with an agreed plan to reduce the number of fast food meals he has, or whether to let it go.

When his work day spans lunchtime, my husband gets a sandwich and a non-office coffee from a sandwich bar. I've done the sums, and we'd save around two-thirds of the cost if he took a similar sandwich to work and drank office coffee. But if I wanted this to happen I'd have to be the one to start making his sandwiches rather than saying, "I want you to make yourself sandwiches," which would involve extra shopping for fresh bread rolls and ingredients, some of which we wouldn't use up completely, and having another task to do in the morning when I have a long work day ahead, and you can't put a value on being able to use "getting lunch" as a pretext for leaving the office for twenty minutes and walking to the sandwich bar. The actual saving would amount to less than 1% of our joint income when he's working full days. At the moment, I don't think it's worth it. If I was working shorter hours and put greater value on the absolute amount of money saved, I'd try to initiate a change.

(My own sustenance on long work days is cheap and does not stand up well to nutritional analysis, but that's a separate issue.)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on July 03, 2017, 11:26:10 AM
OK, July started off better, but with an asterisk.  Farmer's market + Aldi's = $91 groceries.  Household = $77, including a big Amazon stockup.  The asterisk is that I found an awesome tea and ordered a pound of it off of Amazon as well, so that's another $30 toward my grocery budget, bringing the weekly groceries to $121 and the total "countable"* spend to $198.  No takeout, except for one tea at the farmer's market, which is a big improvement overall -- even DH ate lunch at home Friday when he had off from work. :-)

*Since I count my normal cat expenses toward pet stuff and not groceries, it has occurred to me that I should do the same for the foster kitties.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on July 16, 2017, 04:10:41 PM
This week I'm going to buy a "weekly family pack" from my butcher and see how many weeks I can make it last! I've also successfully gone shopping on foot, so I'll be getting our fresh fruit & veg that way, and get heavy packaged food (eg frozen and pantry items) delivered infrequently. That will keep me out of the snack aisles :)
well, we've stopped buying snacks. I still need to get the nice butcher pack. We've written up.a.grocery list that covers our normal food plus 1 meal that can be changed each week. Now all i.have to do is cross off what we already have - much less thinking involved. We spent under $100 this week, which is a big deal. I suspect we'll spend half what we did last month, and be able to keep it up  :)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on July 16, 2017, 11:11:20 PM
I had an awesome week where we did the groceries based on a meal plan, came home and washed/prepped everything into containers in the fridge. Nothing was wasted and we came in under $100 for the week including alcohol (not including Mr Pancakes' work lunches when he had lunch out or my coffee).

Then we followed up with a rubbish week where we didn't plan anything, didn't grocery shop properly and ate a heap of takeaway.

Motivation is a struggle at the moment. I'm so tried that I kind of don't care if we spend all the money just getting through the days but I also know that when things go well like the week I described above, that gives me more energy and makes me feel much better in myself.

We are moving in the next couple of months so have some extra incentive to use up what we have. Any ideas for canned corn? I accidentally bought it instead of chickpeas and lost the receipt.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Alf91 on July 17, 2017, 06:08:30 AM
Bought dry beans to see what the cost difference is compared to cans. I figured there wouldn't be *that* much of a difference. I was wrong.

Bag of dry beans $1.99 = 5 cups dry = 12.5 cups cooked = 16 cents/cup cooked!

Can of beans (on sale) 77 cents = 2 cups cooked = 39 cents/cup.

So the dry beans are less than half the price! And that's buying a 'regular' size of dry beans - would be even less if I bought the bigger bag.

No more canned beans for me!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on July 17, 2017, 07:18:42 AM
I will be joining this in August! I self shamed myself over on the anti-mustachian board. Realized hubby and I were spending $1250 (CAD) on food per month for the past 6 months. Trying to get down to $650/month for now...then see how we can cut even more!

Dried beans are apparently the key to all life success! :D
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: fruitfly on July 17, 2017, 02:03:32 PM
I am such a failure at this. I spent $300 - THREE HUNDRED AMERICAN DOLLARS!! yesterday at the Grocery Outlet. There were some great deals - I got 10lbs of organic jasmine rice for $1.97 but still, THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS.

I made curry for lunches this week but for reals. UGH.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Travis on July 22, 2017, 10:05:47 AM
Just finished moving in to our new house and spent $200 at the grocery stores this week. Some of the items we won't have to buy again for up to a month, but I'll be taking close notes for August.  The Sam's Club is only 15 minutes away and the Fry's is a 1 minute drive. This will be our first move not being next to a Commissary so I'm curious to see the price differences over time.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on July 24, 2017, 05:30:02 PM
I guess we are not doing so well for July, as we've spent $1142 for the month, with our goal being $1200. We have done a LOT of entertaining this month though, much more than usual. I suppose I could have classified some of that spending as "entertainment" and not groceries...oh well. We have had people in town from out of state and out of the country, back to back weekends. In addition to a family of five staying with us for 3 nights (who will return the favor and host us next year when we visit them in The Netherlands), we had about 20 other people over at a BBQ yesterday. We've had teenagers hanging out eating and swimming. I suppose last summer we took a long road trip in July and spent a ridiculous $2446 on food (including a heinous amount of eating out). We do have a lot of leftovers from this past weekend, so maybe I can keep it close to $1200 since we don't have any social plans this weekend.

So, I'm still tracking our food spending, and we are much improved over last year. It has been a good month overall, so if we go over a bit because of all the entertaining, it was definitely worth it. I'm going to try to keep it as close to our $1200 target as possible though.

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on July 25, 2017, 03:06:06 AM
We are finally making progress. I have set up the grocery list so that I just print a copy and cross off what we have. It's made shopping way easier. Also, one adult shops and the other puts food away - that way we both know what we have to eat. On track for $700 this month and probably lower in August.

Which will hopefully reduce our takeaway spending. That one is *not* pretty.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DayLight on July 26, 2017, 07:04:56 AM
Nice going, Anatidae V!

I have to confess that I didn't manage to meet my 1,000 budget in June- we came in at 1350. That includes all food, restaurants and alcohol, birthdays, etc. But still.

July is $870 so far, which is surprising. I guess we've had a really low key July, and I'm sortof dieting. Cutting down on beer, dairy and red meat really helps with the food bills. And finally getting a lot of fresh veggies from the gardens.

Though, jillinsandiego, you have a good point about improvement over last year- we are doing a lot better too!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on July 27, 2017, 09:44:15 AM
I had an awesome week where we did the groceries based on a meal plan, came home and washed/prepped everything into containers in the fridge. Nothing was wasted and we came in under $100 for the week including alcohol (not including Mr Pancakes' work lunches when he had lunch out or my coffee).

Then we followed up with a rubbish week where we didn't plan anything, didn't grocery shop properly and ate a heap of takeaway.

Motivation is a struggle at the moment. I'm so tried that I kind of don't care if we spend all the money just getting through the days but I also know that when things go well like the week I described above, that gives me more energy and makes me feel much better in myself.

Yeah, this is me.  I realized I have sort of lost track this month, because I have one great planning week, and the life intervenes and the next one is crap.  This month my downfall was two consecutive grocery shops with kid(s) in tow, which turned what should have been a $60 Aldi's shop into $100, followed by a $250 Wegman's run as DD "remembered" all of these things she needed.  Then I was gone for a week, and so I am sure that DH bought a bunch of takeout; then I returned late Monday, so I had no chance to shop or prep anything, so we have been eating leftover takeout from DH and then ordered more. 

IOW, I am good as long as I can keep to my system.  But once I get thrown from my routine, I lose motivation and say fuck it a little too easily.

In any event, totals for the month to date are $475 groceries, household $138, and takeout probably some atrocious figure (I can account for about $100, no clue what DH spent).  So the groceries and household are close to my original $600 budget, but I will likely go more significantly over as I will need to shop this weekend to set up next week.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on July 31, 2017, 08:36:30 AM
I had an awesome week where we did the groceries based on a meal plan, came home and washed/prepped everything into containers in the fridge. Nothing was wasted and we came in under $100 for the week including alcohol (not including Mr Pancakes' work lunches when he had lunch out or my coffee).

Then we followed up with a rubbish week where we didn't plan anything, didn't grocery shop properly and ate a heap of takeaway.

Motivation is a struggle at the moment. I'm so tried that I kind of don't care if we spend all the money just getting through the days but I also know that when things go well like the week I described above, that gives me more energy and makes me feel much better in myself.

Yeah, this is me.  I realized I have sort of lost track this month, because I have one great planning week, and the life intervenes and the next one is crap.  This month my downfall was two consecutive grocery shops with kid(s) in tow, which turned what should have been a $60 Aldi's shop into $100, followed by a $250 Wegman's run as DD "remembered" all of these things she needed.  Then I was gone for a week, and so I am sure that DH bought a bunch of takeout; then I returned late Monday, so I had no chance to shop or prep anything, so we have been eating leftover takeout from DH and then ordered more. 

IOW, I am good as long as I can keep to my system.  But once I get thrown from my routine, I lose motivation and say fuck it a little too easily.

In any event, totals for the month to date are $475 groceries, household $138, and takeout probably some atrocious figure (I can account for about $100, no clue what DH spent).  So the groceries and household are close to my original $600 budget, but I will likely go more significantly over as I will need to shop this weekend to set up next week.

As expected, went over -- biggest blow was $42 on meats/cheeses, plus some farmer's market splurges (BBQ chicken cornbread with peaches?  Yum!).  Month ended up at $560 groceries, $138 household, and probably $200 takeout.  Grr. 

What's really been disappointing is that I let myself splurge on some fancier beers over the last two months (since I finally found a particular type I actually love and figured it's still cheaper to drink them at home), and I have been disappointed in them -- guess I just like them on tap.  Last night really sucked, as I added up the monthly totals AND poured $5 worth of beer down the sink.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on July 31, 2017, 11:19:48 AM
Although i'm officially starting the challenge in August, I did a "trial run" last week to see if we could cut back. We ended up spending $180 (groceries only), but we are still eating food from last week. We hosted a potluck BBQ last weekend, so spending was a bit higher, since we purchased the supplies and a lot of meat, but in general, our spending is about 1/3 of our weekly spending from before (which is super embaressing). I'll be interested to see how we do in August!

Strategies for success: Mostly vegetarian! No restaurants! Dried Beans!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: TabbyCat on July 31, 2017, 12:57:05 PM
Joining for August! We are spending WAY too much (I'm not sure I even want to admit the numbers) for two adults and a toddler, but I'm slowly working out the good places to shop around Seattle and getting better about meal planning and reduced waste. Husband is also very big on snack foods and I've got him onboard for a trial run of drastically reduced snacks if I pack meals for work for him.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: afuera on August 01, 2017, 09:45:58 AM
Failed this month, $422 with a budget of $250.  Our new roommate moved in so there has been a bit of an adjustment on how many groceries/what type of groceries get bought.  I also seem to have developed a (expensive) taste for smoked salmon.  Yum.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on August 02, 2017, 10:12:54 AM
Having the flu has its advantages...we came in under for July in the end, $1193. Even with all the entertaining we did earlier in the month. I'm elated!! I know we have a much higher target than many people here, but this is half what we spent for the same month last year. I think we're really starting to get a handle on it. Once we can consistently stay under $1200/mo I want to start lowering the monthly target and progress towards getting under $1000/mo. With as many teenagers as we regularly feed, and the social stuff we end up hosting for my husband's family, it isn't as outrageous as just feeding a family of 5. But, I would rather know where the teenagers are, and be able to have the family getting together (we are the ones with the "best" house for it, and even if everyone brings food, it still falls unevenly on us).

It's amazing how much of a difference it makes just to be aware.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Travis on August 02, 2017, 12:08:48 PM
July came in at $510 which includes non-grocery items. I'm hoping about $100 of that was start-up costs and bulk buying that won't be repeated this month.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: fruitfly on August 02, 2017, 03:28:39 PM
I super failed at this - $1500 for July. We're about to go to one income so it is super necessary that I get this way down.

I can't really figure out where I go wrong. Probably less meat? We've been BBQing lately so I have been buying these $8 racks of ribs. Usually each week I buy those, lunch meat ($4), a pack of burgers ($5) and a 12 pack of chicken thighs ($5). I need better meal planning - we usually rotate through about 3-4 dishes each week but it does get boring.

How do you guys handle produce? I find that fruit is my biggest indulgence - and it's even in season?!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on August 04, 2017, 07:09:52 AM
@tikimama I recommend less meat! DH and I used to buy big meat packs costco, portion them and freeze them. We thought that was a pretty good deal (and it was), but now we are almost vegetarian and the savings are crazy! For example, 2 weeks ago we hosted a bbq and bought the burgers and sausages (on sale, cheap, not amazing quality)- groceries that week were ~$150. I think, for comparison sake, this amount of meat would be equal if we had used the meat for ourselves over the week instead of the BBQ. This past week, with no meat on the menu, we were at $66. This cuts our grocery bill by ~$375 per month.

Second recommendation, where are you shopping? Do you have a "no-name" grocery store? We shop at No Frills and the quality of the products are exactly the same as a higher end grocery store.

For produce, have you looked into a produce delivery bag? That allows you to get delicious local produce delivered, and we have found it to be cheaper than the grocery store, especially in the summer. Other option (if available) is u-pick from local farms, you could make it a family outing! Other than that, I recommend shopping the flyers, and being flexible with what kind of fruit you get (ie get strawberries if they are on sale, but you really wanted raspberries). Final recommendation, if you are using the fruit for smoothies, stick with the frozen produce, look for sales and stock up.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DarkandStormy on August 04, 2017, 07:27:31 AM
Final tally and for two of us...got it down to $372 for July.  Some of this includes Costco, which had some household items so it was probably ~$350 for groceries.  Stopped at Aldi for the first time - none nearby us so it will be difficult to make that a regular trip.

Onward to August and trying to beat $350!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on August 04, 2017, 08:56:57 AM
I super failed at this - $1500 for July. We're about to go to one income so it is super necessary that I get this way down.

I can't really figure out where I go wrong. Probably less meat? We've been BBQing lately so I have been buying these $8 racks of ribs. Usually each week I buy those, lunch meat ($4), a pack of burgers ($5) and a 12 pack of chicken thighs ($5). I need better meal planning - we usually rotate through about 3-4 dishes each week but it does get boring.

How do you guys handle produce? I find that fruit is my biggest indulgence - and it's even in season?!

So I don't think $25 of meat is your problem -- that's $100/mo out of your $1500.  I suspect you are like me, and it's planning and overbuying.  How much food goes in the trash after a week or two in the fridge?  How many bottles of ketchup are in the pantry because you saw it and couldn't remember if you needed more? (not that I've, umm, ever, uh, had that issue -- just don't look over there at the balsamic vinegars . . . .)

Also, what does that $1500 cover -- just groceries?  Or groceries + takeout + eating out + office lunches + household products?  I think the recommendations change based on the answer -- e.g., if the problem is takeout (like mine), then maybe the answer is to actually buy *more* of the frozen/convenience food things, so you at least have something quick in the freezer.  OTOH, if that is all groceries, then you're buying too much packaged/convenience foods and shopping at expensive stores, so that's a different fix.

As you can see from my posts, I am struggling to get this all right.  But the things that work when I get all the ducks in a row are:

1.  I start menu planning in my fridge, freezer, and pantry.  I cannot believe the amount of crap I have piled up there!  So for ex., I have some cauliflower and broccoli and salad greens left over from the giant farmer's market haul, so next week's menu is going to include those -- so there's half my veggies already taken care of.  I also have some not-well-labeled frozen leftovers, so maybe I'll have a "kitchen surprise" night and just defrost some miscellaneous things. 

2.  I look for meals in which I can re-use components.  My go-to is to grill up a bunch of chicken and a London Broil and onions and peppers for fajitas for Sunday dinner, and then have the chicken and peppers for breakfast (omelets) and/or lunches, and serve quesadillas for another dinner, and then use the beef and onions to make cheesesteaks. 

3.  I am working very hard on being realistic about how much food I need and how many nights I am really going to cook a whole meal.  Before I started this, I would frequently find myself at the end of the week never having cooked two of the meals I had planned, so they would roll over to the next week, and then I'd add 3-4 more, and repeat the cycle.  Now I look at the calendar:  if one of the kids has a 7PM practice, or I have a late meeting at work, well, I just know I'm not going to cook then, so I make sure to have hot dogs or frozen mac and cheese or leftovers or whatever on-hand for something quick.  And I also look at the amount of food I cook:  my family doesn't like leftovers, so when I cook up a four-pack of lamb sausage for me and DH, I need to assume that I am going to have two left that need to be used up somehow (usually for my lunches).  This is *hard* -- DH and I both grew up in houses where food = love, and you'd always make too much at risk of having too little.  But I have started realizing that when I make 4 chicken breasts for 4 people, we really only eat 2-3, and so I am freezing the chicken breasts in much smaller packages now and just cooking less.

4.  Shop at Aldi's or equivalent for baseline things.  I admit, I can't do that all the time, because they don't have everything I need.  But, man, I think I topped $100 at Aldi's once, and every Wegman's shop is $200-300 (and that's even with a lot of house-brand stuff!).  Part of it is that Aldi's prices are cheaper for comparable stuff.  But an even bigger part is that Aldi's doesn't have all of the tempting treats, like the giant deli counter.  It's easier not to get lured off-course at Aldi's specifically because it kind of sucks.  :-)

Honestly, most of it is just paying attention so you can spot your own weaknesses.  When I started this in February, I thought this was going to be easy-peasy.  Hah!  It's really made me recognize how unconscious I have been about this stuff and all of the underlying habits/beliefs that have helped me fall into bad habits.  Good luck!!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: fruitfly on August 04, 2017, 12:17:52 PM
Thanks Laura33 and kaypinkhardhat ! I am strictly a Grocery Outlet shopper - if Gross Out doesn't have it, basically I don't get it.

I am guilty of buying too much or aspirational buying so too much goes to waste. Leftovers are so hard, I don't like them but I do force myself to take the for lunch. I need to menu plan way better, the lure of the cheapo mexican place near us is hard to resist ("It's only $25 for everyone!").

I need to expand my menus, too. My husband and I did great for years because we both love to cook and eat. Then he had to stop eating wheat and dairy and we had one kid who eats like a 1978 Weight Watcher (his favorite meal: plain grilled chicken and steamed broccoli).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DarkandStormy on August 04, 2017, 12:22:04 PM
Leftovers are so hard, I don't like them

LOL I've heard this before from other people.  It makes no sense.  People are weird.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on August 04, 2017, 12:25:19 PM
Thanks Laura33 and kaypinkhardhat ! I am strictly a Grocery Outlet shopper - if Gross Out doesn't have it, basically I don't get it.

I am guilty of buying too much or aspirational buying so too much goes to waste. Leftovers are so hard, I don't like them but I do force myself to take the for lunch. I need to menu plan way better, the lure of the cheapo mexican place near us is hard to resist ("It's only $25 for everyone!").

I need to expand my menus, too. My husband and I did great for years because we both love to cook and eat. Then he had to stop eating wheat and dairy and we had one kid who eats like a 1978 Weight Watcher (his favorite meal: plain grilled chicken and steamed broccoli).

One specific thing that helped me readjust the quantities and come up with related meal plans was www.cooksmarts.com -- it's like $4/month, but they send you a meal plan every week, with four balanced meals that can be adjusted for vegetarian or paleo; you can choose anywhere from none to all, and then it will make you a grocery list that tells you exactly what you need and exactly how much (you can also check off what you alread have).  I started that last fall and was stunned at how much more I had been buying than I really needed (easily 2x) and how much stuff I naturally gravitated to that was off the list ("ooooh, look, that pineapple looks yummy").  The foods tend to be very basic and so are probably better for people who don't already know how to cook (I have recommended them many times to people who are intimidated by cooking, because they have very detailed directions and technique videos if you don't know how to do something), but my picky family actually thought many of them were delicious (we just use about 2x the sauce/don't dilute with water, or it's too bland), and they tend to be very easy to cook, which makes them perfect for brain-dead weeknight dinners.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on August 04, 2017, 12:53:28 PM
@darkandstormy, I totally agree, I'm not sure what the hate is for leftovers? Fair enough if you are eating the same thing for the whole week it may get blah, but having the same delicious food I just had for supper again for lunch the next day? Not sure why this is such an issue?

Suggestions for leftover haters (some may be repeating advice/some may be stolen from another similar thread):
1. Reheat on the stove/oven/bbq vs microwave if possible. Makes it taste better
2. Make 2 Meals and alternate between them so you aren't eating the same thing back to back <- I was doing mega meal prep on the weekends and I would do a few wraps for on the go meals, a rice or pasta dish, a "meat and potato with veg" option and then another meal. Whole point was to make 20 servings (2 meals a day, 2 people, 5 days a week) to rotate throughout the week.
3. Make basics that can mix and match: Big ole batch of quinoa can be used as a side dish, in a casserole, as a breakfast, in a buddha bowl, etc. etc. (replace quinao for rice if you prefer). Someone else suggested chicken that can be used in 3 different meals with different flavours.

Just some thoughts from a leftover lover :D
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: fruitfly on August 04, 2017, 01:30:03 PM
My disdain for leftovers is totally illogical! I just need to plan better and be real about which foods I like to eat again.

Good thoughts all!!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Tris Prior on August 04, 2017, 10:03:38 PM
I'm in for August - we haven't done a food shop yet this month so it's a good time to start tracking. Goal is $300/month for two people, including household items and alcohol consumed at home.

Hurdles so far we've encountered in keeping our food spending down:

- We don't have a car so all shopping must be done on foot or on the bus/train, with our rolly cart. Since we moved, we're fortunate that we have an Aldi within walking distance. Unfortunately, even closer is the Whole Foods. :/ We are guilty of going to Whole Foods, when we're exhausted, for the stuff Aldi doesn't carry, rather than making the longer trip to the Jewel.

- Boyfriend and I eat very differently; I am vegetarian and he's not, and there aren't a lot of foods/meals that we both like. So meal planning involves meals for me, meals for him, and meals that we'll both eat (there are very few of the latter, and they are really carb-y which we're trying to avoid, with admittedly little success.) And, well....

- I hate meal planning. Hate hate hate. Sitting down and figuring out what I want to eat for the coming week, for lunches and dinners, that's healthy and not loaded with carbs and cheese, is just a miserable experience for me. And for Boyfriend too. (Mainly because we really want the stuff with carbs and cheese, and give in more often than we'd like.) Sometimes I have a hard time convincing myself to make what I planned because it just doesn't sound good any more. Why is this so hard for me?

- It's summer, which means I'm gardening and buying shitloads of cheap produce for canning. I enjoy both, but they're a huge time suck. My garden does OK but I don't have enough space to provide for all of our produce needs. And I totally do the thing where I spend hours canning (tonight it was cherry barbecue sauce with 98 cents/lb sweet cherries, YUM), and then it's too late and I'm too tired to cook dinner from scratch (so tonight we ordered in and I had some veggie sushi, facepunch!). This is a seasonal problem, though, and I'm buying produce in season when it's cheap, and preserving it so I won't be buying it overpriced and out of season in January.

- Lately, I've been having problems eating beans. VERY unpleasant consequences. As both a vegetarian and a frugal person, this is a real problem! :( I like beans but they no longer like me, apparently.

- I'd say 1/3 of the meals I make don't turn out well and then I'm stuck choking it down for days, as I like to make big portions all at once for efficiency. Then I end up throwing it out, when I can't choke any more of it down, and making an extra unplanned and unbudgeted-for grocery run.

I'm not sure of solutions to any of those things other than "suck it up," "eat it even if it doesn't taste good," and "ignore how tired you are and do it anyway."
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on August 06, 2017, 09:12:03 AM
I'm in for August - we haven't done a food shop yet this month so it's a good time to start tracking. Goal is $300/month for two people, including household items and alcohol consumed at home.

Hurdles so far we've encountered in keeping our food spending down:

- We don't have a car so all shopping must be done on foot or on the bus/train, with our rolly cart. Since we moved, we're fortunate that we have an Aldi within walking distance. Unfortunately, even closer is the Whole Foods. :/ We are guilty of going to Whole Foods, when we're exhausted, for the stuff Aldi doesn't carry, rather than making the longer trip to the Jewel.

- Boyfriend and I eat very differently; I am vegetarian and he's not, and there aren't a lot of foods/meals that we both like. So meal planning involves meals for me, meals for him, and meals that we'll both eat (there are very few of the latter, and they are really carb-y which we're trying to avoid, with admittedly little success.) And, well....

- I hate meal planning. Hate hate hate. Sitting down and figuring out what I want to eat for the coming week, for lunches and dinners, that's healthy and not loaded with carbs and cheese, is just a miserable experience for me. And for Boyfriend too. (Mainly because we really want the stuff with carbs and cheese, and give in more often than we'd like.) Sometimes I have a hard time convincing myself to make what I planned because it just doesn't sound good any more. Why is this so hard for me?

- It's summer, which means I'm gardening and buying shitloads of cheap produce for canning. I enjoy both, but they're a huge time suck. My garden does OK but I don't have enough space to provide for all of our produce needs. And I totally do the thing where I spend hours canning (tonight it was cherry barbecue sauce with 98 cents/lb sweet cherries, YUM), and then it's too late and I'm too tired to cook dinner from scratch (so tonight we ordered in and I had some veggie sushi, facepunch!). This is a seasonal problem, though, and I'm buying produce in season when it's cheap, and preserving it so I won't be buying it overpriced and out of season in January.

- Lately, I've been having problems eating beans. VERY unpleasant consequences. As both a vegetarian and a frugal person, this is a real problem! :( I like beans but they no longer like me, apparently.

- I'd say 1/3 of the meals I make don't turn out well and then I'm stuck choking it down for days, as I like to make big portions all at once for efficiency. Then I end up throwing it out, when I can't choke any more of it down, and making an extra unplanned and unbudgeted-for grocery run.

I'm not sure of solutions to any of those things other than "suck it up," "eat it even if it doesn't taste good," and "ignore how tired you are and do it anyway."

I struggle with some of these things too, but I think you have taken the wrong lessons.  Sure, some of it is "suck it up," but the bigger part is plan for failure.

E.g., of course you're not going to want to cook after canning all day.  So what about spending $6-7 on two acceptable frozen dinners instead of caving at the last minute and spending $30-40 on takeout sushi?

E.g., who wants to eat bad food 4-5 days in a row?  What about making a smaller batch the first tIme you try something?  Or eat it for as long as you can, then put the rest in the freezer, and make every Thursday a "pull something out of the freezer" night?  It may still be bad, but at least it won't be the same bad.  😉  Or invest in a cooking class, because life is too short to eat bad food, especially for someone who is putting so much effort into canning and preserving to have such awesome ingredients to work with.

Also, take a hard look at the cost-effectiveness of your canning efforts -- I.e., don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish.  How much do you pay for ingredients, supplies, etc., as compared to the cost of buying things commercially?  And more important:  how does that number change if you add in the cost of takeout every night you spend the day canning?  Not saying don't do the canning, but either plan to manage those ancillary costs, or treat it as a hobby that you do because it's fun and you appreciate the quality of the ingredients, not because it is saving you money.

If you don't like planning:  well, this is the "suck it up, buttercup" part.  😉 Or try www.cooksmarts.com -- see my post above.  Not creative cooking, but it covers the planning and grocery list for you.  So use that for 2-3 days a week, and then reserve your creativity for once or twice a week.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on August 06, 2017, 09:25:05 AM
Personally, I spent a lot of $ this week, but I strangely feel like I did decently.  Groceries/dairy $185 at Wegman's + $30 dairy$221, along with $15$43 household and $12 takeout.  But the Wegman's was both a stock-up on basics and an intended splurge for DH's birthday (fruit tart because it goes with his favorite wine, lamb, fresh mozzarella, deli he wanted, etc.); the dairy is all we will need for the next 3 weeks; and I was able to cancel the Amazon monthly delivery because we had enough household stuff.  So next couple of weeks should just be Aldi's and/or farmers' market -- maybe Aldi's, because the farmers' market has too many non-farmer temptations (bagel sandwiches for $10, awesome BBQ peach cornbread for $10, etc.).

ETA $ from a shop DH did, unbeknownst to me.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Tris Prior on August 06, 2017, 10:25:03 AM
Did a grocery shop yesterday at Aldi - $46.38 and I think I'll be good for the week. Boyfriend still needs to go somewhere to get meat; he has tried the Aldi meat and hated it every time. I'm veg so I can't speak to whether it's really that bad - I think all meat looks and smells gross, haha -  but I do not want him to have to choke down bad meat.


E.g., of course you're not going to want to cook after canning all day.  So what about spending $6-7 on two acceptable frozen dinners instead of caving at the last minute and spending $30-40 on takeout sushi?

We do this sometimes. Usually it's a frozen pizza that we top with vegetables ourselves. But sometimes we've already eaten our "emergency" don't-feel-like-cooking frozen whatever earlier in the week, like when we've both worked overtime and are exhausted. I usually don't schedule my canning; it's more like, "hey, I'm home from work, I don't feel like I'm literally going to fall asleep on my feet, it's not hot out - I think I'll deal with this huge bag of ___ that's in the freezer!"

Boyfriend is also a huge enabler. We eat completely different meals and he usually will not try anything I am eating. So, if I've got leftovers or whatever to eat, but he does not, he'll say, "Hey, let's order in ____, I'm buying" and, well, I have a hard time resisting.


E.g., who wants to eat bad food 4-5 days in a row?  What about making a smaller batch the first tIme you try something?  Or eat it for as long as you can, then put the rest in the freezer, and make every Thursday a "pull something out of the freezer" night?  It may still be bad, but at least it won't be the same bad.  😉  Or invest in a cooking class, because life is too short to eat bad food, especially for someone who is putting so much effort into canning and preserving to have such awesome ingredients to work with.

I could definitely try making a smaller batch. That kind of goes against my usual philosophy of cook as much as possible at once, because I HATE cooking and large quantities = I have to do it less frequently. But, well, if the result is gross, then that's not helpful. I've about abandoned my crockpot because I have found there's a way higher likelihood of meals turning out terrible when I use it. I'm not really sure why that is; I follow recipes as written but they always come out dry and bland.

I'll admit a big part of the problem is also that I'm trying to train myself to eat less of the things I love, because after being able to eat whatever I want most of my adult life - and in fact being pretty underweight - my age is catching up to me this year and my clothes are getting tight. So it's been a lot of trial and error with healthier recipes that aren't full of carbs and cheese. Mostly error, I'm afraid. Hopefully at some point I'll hit on some things I like. Having to mostly cut out beans is certainly not helping, either.

Also, take a hard look at the cost-effectiveness of your canning efforts -- I.e., don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish.  How much do you pay for ingredients, supplies, etc., as compared to the cost of buying things commercially? 

I'm at the point that the only thing I need to buy is jar lids, as you can only use them once or else they won't seal. I'm fortunate to have a really cheap produce market in my city - it is a haul on public transport, but their prices are crazy; I recently got an entire case of strawberries (8 containers) for 98 cents. I do splurge sometimes, like on the Michigan tart cherries at the farmer's market (OMG, were those good!), but that's rare; I wait for stuff to be in season and at rock-bottom prices and then stock up. And the tomatoes come out of my own garden.


If you don't like planning:  well, this is the "suck it up, buttercup" part.  😉 Or try www.cooksmarts.com -- see my post above.  Not creative cooking, but it covers the planning and grocery list for you.  So use that for 2-3 days a week, and then reserve your creativity for once or twice a week.

Thanks, I'll check that out. I don't need it to be creative, but I do need to try some new things that I am not sick to death of eating.

So next couple of weeks should just be Aldi's and/or farmers' market -- maybe Aldi's, because the farmers' market has too many non-farmer temptations (bagel sandwiches for $10, awesome BBQ peach cornbread for $10, etc.).

Ha, you're not kidding. The big farmer's market here is full of temptations like that - the crepe vendor with amazing $10 savory crepes, the $12 grilled cheese vendor, the $8 fruit smoothie guy.... yum.

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: JanF on August 06, 2017, 02:22:07 PM
I don't understand what the deal with Aldi is? I found one near where I work but I was not impress with their selection.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Tris Prior on August 06, 2017, 04:49:58 PM
Aldis vary a LOT in quality and selection based on their location, I've found. We're in a pretty good part of the city now and the Aldi's much better than when we lived in a not-so-good neighborhood - that Aldi was always out of stuff and was, frankly, kind of dirty. Here, some Aldis have booze and some don't, because Chicago's liquor laws are weird.

It's great for many things - basic staples, canned goods, cheese both "normal" and unusual, chocolate (they are a German-based company), gluten-free items if you're into that (I'm not gluten free but we like their brown rice pasta which is several dollars cheaper than at "regular" grocery stores). Their produce is sometimes good, sometimes awful; you have to look at it carefully. As I mentioned above, Boyfriend says their meat's terrible.

I usually cannot complete all my shopping there, which is a pain in the ass especially with no car, but we save enough money on the things that we CAN get there, that we keep going. I mean, there's no reason to pay 4 bucks and change at the Jewel for the same big container of oatmeal that I can get at Aldi for $1.99, right?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: JanF on August 06, 2017, 05:13:08 PM
Interesting....I guess I'm just spoiled. I have about 7 different brands of grocery stores within a mile radius loll
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on August 07, 2017, 07:26:07 AM
I don't understand what the deal with Aldi is? I found one near where I work but I was not impress with their selection.

1.  Cheap as dirt.  Standard shop = $70 at Aldi's, $200 at Wegman's (which itself is cheaper than Safeway).
2.  Part of that is their stupid-cheap store brands and in-season produce
3.  Part of that is their limited selection = less temptation to go off-list.  IOW, limited selection is a feature, not a bug.

But ITA about the meats -- I have stopped buying there, last couple of times I bought beef,I had so much fat to cut off that I'd have been better off paying regular prices at Wegman's.  And Wegman's frequently has loss-leader chicken breasts for $1.88, which is cheaper than I've seen at Aldi's anyway.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: JanetJackson on August 07, 2017, 01:35:15 PM
Has anyone looking much into Brandless.com?
I literally just heard about it in passing today and it sounded like a pretty decent idea, provided shipping isn't $300 for a bunch of $3 items.

I am an Aldi only shopper (with the very very occasional Kroger outing), but if there's one thing I hate... it's grocery shopping.  I'd pay just a little (not a lot) extra to have an online order.  I've done the freebie referrals through a local grocery service here in my town and LOVED IT... but once the freebie ran out, naturally, I never paid for it.  I've also occasionally done a Pick Up order for friends at a local grocery where you pay $4 and order online and go pick it up... but not having to go AT ALL would be ideal.

Anyone heard of that Brandless site and have a review/opinion?

Thanks!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on August 07, 2017, 03:41:44 PM
We're well on track for August; did some stocking up late last week for a get-together that didn't happen, so now we're eating our way through good produce and won't need to buy alcohol for a LONG time.

I am still sick, coming up on two weeks tomorrow. It keeps getting worse and I can't taste anything at all, so I'm only eating enough for basic nutrition and no treats or extras. No eating out (what's the point?). On the upside, I'm down 5 pounds...

I will add, our $1200/month budget includes every food item: groceries, take-out, sit-down restaurant, treats, alcohol, food for when we have people over (which I could classify as "entertainment" but don't). Household things like toothpaste, tp, etc I don't include in the $1200 goal.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Drole on August 08, 2017, 12:35:30 AM
Has anyone looking much into Brandless.com?
I literally just heard about it in passing today and it sounded like a pretty decent idea, provided shipping isn't $300 for a bunch of $3 items.
I saw this on the Facebook and first reaction is that it is overpriced. I mean $3 might seem like a good price, but where I live, that's a lot to pay for private label ☓. I mean I can get the organic/natural PB for significantly less, etc. Or if you hate shopping, I think most local stores now offer some type of curbside service. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DarkandStormy on August 08, 2017, 07:31:17 AM

I will add, our $1200/month budget includes every food item

How big is your family?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on August 09, 2017, 06:10:55 AM
I don't understand what the deal with Aldi is? I found one near where I work but I was not impress with their selection.

if you cant walk thru an aldi and get everything you need to make meals you're doing something wrong. 

Making menu's etc. prior to going to a grocery store to see what they have and whats on sale leads to overspending.  You should look at ads figure out whats on sale and build menus around that then everything else just falls into place as you walk thru a grocery store. 

I think the single biggest mistake people make with their grocery budgets are shopping to cook X or Y with out reviewing ads or having an ability to improvise what you were thinking based on what is available or on sale. 

the second biggest mistake is not stocking up on meats when they are on sale.  <- this makes making meals easier b/c now depending on how you eat you're just going to get fresh produce each week at the store plus whatever the stock up meat sale may be. 

the third biggest mistake is buying packaged pre made goods that arent on a big sale ...

and the fourth biggest mistake i see is people not stocking up on canned goods when on sale. 

we eat like kings and 90% of our food comes from aldi with the rest coming from loss leaders at the local grocery store.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on August 09, 2017, 12:19:56 PM
So far we are tracking at about ~$200 for food for the first 11 days of August. In the same time period for the past 6 months we were averaging $458 for 11 days. CUT IN HALF :D. We also have a ton of food leftover/going in the freezer. But..we have two road trips coming up. Hopefully we can stay on track!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on August 09, 2017, 12:26:10 PM

I will add, our $1200/month budget includes every food item

How big is your family?

Family of 5: myself and my husband, 16 year old son (athlete, ugh, he eats more than the rest of us combined), 7 year old son, 5 year old daughter. The $1200 includes other people over frequently (neighbors, family, teenagers, oh the teenagers...but I'm happy to feed them to know what they're up to!). It's still a huge number, but much, much lower than last year. Definitely a work in progress!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Done by Forty on August 10, 2017, 09:22:02 PM
Our bills have been creeping up for the past couple years. Hoping to keep it under $350 (for just 2 people) this month. My birthday this weekend will make it tricky (beer, snacks, food for the house party) but I'm convinced it can be done.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on August 14, 2017, 01:09:44 PM
OK, time to 'fess up to an unsatisfying week.  $127 for groceries, $10 household stuff, bringing MTD to $348 groceries and $53 household.  On the plus side, we had no weeknight takeout, despite nightly pleas from the kiddos.

My lessons: 

1.  I need to manage kid stuff better.  E.g., DD has a job with a microwave at work, so she is wanting to buy frozen dinners and the like and whines far too much about having to take a sandwich.  I will ignore her and get sandwich stuff one week, and then let her come with me and buy 5 things the next.  I need to come up with a plan to help her learn that this is a waste of money; I think next summer I will cover the cost of what I usually spend on sandwich fixings, and let her know that anything else is on her.  But this is what happens when I don't have a plan in advance.

2.  I am realizing that my decision to avoid "regular" grocery stores is triggering a hoarding/scarcity mindset that I have fought my whole life.  This is the same mindset that makes me keep something like a can of pate that my mom gives me for Christmas so long that it goes bad -- because I know if I eat it, I don't have it any more.  I am basically alternating Wegman's and Aldi's, because there are certain things we like that Aldi's doesn't have -- but that means every week, I know I won't be back for 2-3 more weeks.  So I find on Aldi's weeks, I hoard things like juice and fruit and maple breakfast sausages and granola bars, because their prices are so great.  And then on Wegman's weeks, I hoard things like PowerAde Zero (me) and Diet Pepsi (DH) and OJ (DH).  So every week, my bill is higher than I expect it to be, because I am "stocking up" on things that my mind tells me I won't have access to for several weeks (I bought 2 8-packs of PowerAde yesterday; yes, I am doing Crossfit 5x/week now, but I don't need 16 bottles for 2 weeks, and I'm gone next week anyway!). 

This week we went to my mom's for dinner last night and are leaving on vacation Sat., so 5 nights to worry about -- and we already had most of the meat, all the cheese, and half the veggies I needed, so I honestly expected to spend maybe $50 ($60 after DH mentioned he needed Diet Pepsi).  It was supposed to be an Aldi's week, so I did the Aldi's stockup on juice, detergent, and cat litter; then we went to Safeway for DH's Diet Pepsi and OJ, and I let DD get her lunches (@$25); then Diet Pepsi was on sale ($12); then, hey, I'm here, let's stock up on the PowerAde ($7); then I let DD get fish, because she doesn't eat the chili or chili dogs that are on the menu ($14?); etc.  Each individual decision isn't horrible in and of itself, but they add up to a grocery bill that is double what I expected.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DarkandStormy on August 14, 2017, 01:16:22 PM
PowerAde Zero (me) and Diet Pepsi (DH) and OJ (DH)

Water is nearly free and better for you, comparatively, than those three drinks.  Would it be possible to cut out all flavored drinks?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on August 14, 2017, 02:36:12 PM
PowerAde Zero (me) and Diet Pepsi (DH) and OJ (DH)

Water is nearly free and better for you, comparatively, than those three drinks.  Would it be possible to cut out all flavored drinks?

Thanks for the thought.  And of course everything is possible; I just don't want to cut these particular things.  The PowerAde is the only "flavored" thing I drink (unless you count things like tea and wine), and I have 4-5/week (I work out early and can't eat first, and it seems to fool my body into thinking it has sugar in it).  It is absolutely not a necessity, but I just flat-out like it, and for $2-2.50/week, it's worth it.  I have very few things that I buy just for me, and this is one.

The rest of it is a battle I'm not willing to fight.  There's no way on God's green earth DH will give up his DP or OJ (or sausage -- forgot to mention the $14 of frozen sausage I stocked up on).  I have actually tried to buy more DP at the grocery store so he could take them to work instead of buying 1-2 from the vending machine every day (for $1.50/pop), and he won't even do that. 

He is really barely tolerating the Aldi's thing -- he does not like many of their options, and after a few months he can hardly hide the eye-roll when I shop there; as far as he's concerned, we make enough money, and I'm being silly for worrying about things like cutting a few hundred bucks a month from the grocery bill.  So if I tell him we need to cut back on "his" things, he will either get pissed off or laugh hysterically -- and then he'll just go to the closest store and buy it himself (along with a bunch of other stuff we don't need that looked good as he walked by).

That's part of the reason our grocery budget is pretty ridiculously high by the standards of this forum ($600).  And I accept that; my goal here is not to minimize that as much as possible, because that will just annoy DH.  My goal is to find that balance between grocery budget and keeping my family happy, and to stop throwing money at things just because of laziness -- so my focus is on things like better menu planning, decreasing takeout, cutting food waste, and identifying/learning how to fight those emotional reactions that cause me to buy more than I need.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on August 14, 2017, 04:29:14 PM
Changed my name here after someone showed me how they could track down my actual last name and all kinds of info just from having my name and location in my username. It doesn't remove it where anyone has quoted me, but there aren't that many instances so I'm not that concerned.

Still sick, going to the doctor tomorrow since it's been 3 weeks now. Food spending is well on track this month since I still can't taste anything (8 days and counting...).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: TabbyCat on August 14, 2017, 06:55:59 PM
Delayed response, but for those who say they hate leftovers, most dinner type meals freeze well so you can rotate your leftovers instead of having 2-3 nights of the same thing. It's also super handy to have frozen "made" meals to defrost on a lazy night.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: mustachepungoeshere on August 15, 2017, 12:09:12 AM
1.  I need to manage kid stuff better.  E.g., DD has a job with a microwave at work, so she is wanting to buy frozen dinners and the like and whines far too much about having to take a sandwich.  I will ignore her and get sandwich stuff one week, and then let her come with me and buy 5 things the next.  I need to come up with a plan to help her learn that this is a waste of money; I think next summer I will cover the cost of what I usually spend on sandwich fixings, and let her know that anything else is on her.  But this is what happens when I don't have a plan in advance.

I understand letting her learn, but if she wants meals to reheat couldn't she (or whoever cooks dinner) make extra for her to take to work? Spaghetti bolognese, curry, all the things you find in frozen meals that can be prepared at home for a fraction of the price.

2.  I am realizing that my decision to avoid "regular" grocery stores is triggering a hoarding/scarcity mindset that I have fought my whole life.  This is the same mindset that makes me keep something like a can of pate that my mom gives me for Christmas so long that it goes bad -- because I know if I eat it, I don't have it any more.

Ohhh this is me with strawberries.

Brain: Strawberries are expensive, I better not waste them. (Waste them. By eating them. I never said it made sense.)

Then I'm so intent on saving them (saving them for what, a special occasion???) that they go mouldy.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: JanF on August 15, 2017, 12:40:59 AM
Quote
I need to manage kid stuff better.  E.g., DD has a job with a microwave at work, so she is wanting to buy frozen dinners and the like and whines far too much about having to take a sandwich.  I will ignore her and get sandwich stuff one week, and then let her come with me and buy 5 things the next.  I need to come up with a plan to help her learn that this is a waste of money; I think next summer I will cover the cost of what I usually spend on sandwich fixings, and let her know that anything else is on her.  But this is what happens when I don't have a plan in advance.

I hate bringing sandwiches and bread for lunch because it gets gross and soggy by the time I eat it (cold or microwave). Maybe it's the same issue with her? For me I make extra dinner for lunch or make bulk pasta that I can freeze and take to work.

As for my update, I'm giving up on setting a budget that I have to stay under every month. I buy bulk a lot so my bills fluctuate...one month I'll spend $500 because I bought a bunch of meat, another I'll spend $250 buying veggies or snacks. Instead, I'm tracking my average spending which went down so success!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on August 15, 2017, 07:16:31 AM
@mustachepunchgoeshere and JanF:  Yes, you have identified the entirely logical solution here.  Which of course means that my headstrong 16-yr-old has rejected it out of hand.  :-)  She cannot abide a leftover -- to the point that if I make chili on Sunday to serve Monday night, she complains that it is a "leftover" even though we never ate it!  I have learned that she is one of those kids who insists on learning everything the hard way.  So I do a lot of the engineer's triangle life lessons with her ("Time, money, stuff:  pick two"), and I do implement a forced savings plan, but then I let her spend the rest of her money on whatever she wants, basically so she can learn that it sucks to be broke. 

My problem this year is that I got into the habit of giving in to her requests for the microwave meals, because I did not have a plan going in.  This was our first year she needed a lunch (camp provides lunch for the campers, but not counselors), and I assumed she'd have sandwiches and such, but then when she told me there was a microwave and she really wanted some of those premade things, I said ok -- basically, I was treating her lunch choices as an entitlement, not an extra.  Now that I see my error, I will fix that by giving her a "lunch allowance" that would cover the basics of a reasonable lunch (e.g., sandwich, fruit, drink; or I can just give her what I pay the camp for her brother's lunches).  And then she can decide what to spend that on and whether she wants to spend her own money to "upgrade" beyond that.

The one good bit is that she has learned that those pre-made meals look infinitely better than they taste -- I don't think she's found a single one that she actually liked.  So maybe buying them was a good idea after all.  :-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Travis on August 15, 2017, 10:51:49 AM
Need some advice.  We usually buy Sara Lee whole wheat bread for sandwiches. I can get them from Sam's for $2/loaf.  The Kroger brand wheat bread is $1/loaf.  The biggest difference I can see is the Kroger brand has 1 more gram of sugar and 10g more carbs per slice than the Sara Lee. My 7 year old is the main consumer of the bread.  We go through about a loaf every 10 days.  I find it odd that there is high fructose corn syrup in their bread (which I assume is where the extra sugar/carbs come from), but is it necessarily a bad thing?  Is it the health difference worth spending an extra $4 a month for the Sara Lee?
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DarkandStormy on August 15, 2017, 11:22:24 AM
^You could buy Private Selection and cut/tear the pieces in half since they're so much bigger.

http://www.fooducate.com/app#!page=product&id=8BE845A4-B8F2-11E0-86F7-1231380C180E
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DarkandStormy on August 15, 2017, 01:27:08 PM
Was just looking over July grocery spending to August grocery spending.  This is for two of us.

July - $372, although I imagine that's probably closer to $350 if you take out a few "household" items from Costco.

August - $163 through half the month.  So we're on track to do a bit better this month and I can't remember, but the $163 may include a "household" item from Costco - we might have stocked up on garbage bags? I forget.  Will be interesting to follow - I imagine if we really pushed we could get it down to $300.  $350 is perhaps a bit more reasonable over the long haul as we tend to buy a lot of fresh produce and prices can fluctuate - we try to follow items that are lower in price.  We will splurge for avocados but only if they're $1 or less.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: mustachepungoeshere on August 15, 2017, 07:29:48 PM
The one good bit is that she has learned that those pre-made meals look infinitely better than they taste -- I don't think she's found a single one that she actually liked.  So maybe buying them was a good idea after all.  :-)

Love it. :D
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on August 17, 2017, 01:25:10 AM
The one good bit is that she has learned that those pre-made meals look infinitely better than they taste -- I don't think she's found a single one that she actually liked.  So maybe buying them was a good idea after all.  :-)

Love it. :D

July with our 3 week summer vacation was a disaster in matters of grocery spending. I included the grocery bills that DH had paid in my spending overview. We spent 30% more than usual. The reason is that you buy another kind of food when you need to cook on a camping stove and don't have a refrigerator. And we were staying a lot out in the country and shopped in the local small shops. A good thing to do to keep those shops alive, but they are not cheap.

Last week has been better, I shopped very little, just some veggies. But this morning I did a terrible thing. We are going away for a long weekend and I had half a crop of iceberg lettuce in the fridge. I threw it away, because I don't think it will last until Monday evening. I threw it in the composting bin though, so it will be recycled in our garden. When I bought it, I had calculated to eat it on 2 executive days. But somehow we had to improvise som easy and fast food yesterday evening and the lettuce somehow didn't fit in there, because of the other ingredients. There was also a tomato left, but we'll take it with us. That will probably stay alive a whole day in the car until we arrive late in the evening.

Apart from this, I haven't actually spent much this month at all on anything. Finally we have a month without any large bills so far. Let's hope it stays like this. Next weekend I will be on a 2 day free of charge mushroom course in the city. Funny thing is that we are requested by the course leader to bring our own sandwiches for lunch. So I hope to spend nothing more than fuel and road toll money. And for dinner I will eat left-overs from the freezer at home, as I will be home alone that weekend. DH goes to London for a job conference and will probably spend some money in pubs.

In September we will be on a vacation in Crete. There we always eat out in the evenings, one of the positive experiences about visiting that place. But we'll keep it reasonably cheap by only having a main course and buying our lunch in the local grocery store.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on August 17, 2017, 12:38:24 PM
Hello all, (I'm guessing at these numbers, i'll do the final tally at the end).
We are trending right now at ~$440 which will get us through until the 19th (at least). At that point we are on a 2 week vacation and probably won't be spending that much on food (staying with family), I think we will make our $650 budget!

Groceries so far (for 3 weeks):
~$270
Under ~$100 a week! I'm really excited about that because I feel like we have been eating really well/delicious food, and it haven't felt too constricted. It works out to be ~$2.35/person/meal

Restaurants:
~$170- on our weekend road trip we did 1 fancyish meal (which included paying for a friend), and 1 more "casual" meal (which was $30 for 4 servings of amazing food- no regrets). (Interestingly, restaurant costs works out to be ~$25 per serving...more than 10x the cost of home cooking O_O)

Where we saved on restaurants: Driving to our location we packed food, saved us ~$30 of gross fast food at a highway stop. We were the ONLY ones eating our own food, and we felt super smug about it :D.  First night, we stayed with friend one night who loves to cook, and made us an amazing breakfast and lunch (in exchange for a bottle of cheap wine..not included in our food budget). Next day we used gift cards for coffee/breakfasts (but used all the gift cards..starbucks is stupid expensive). On our return leg, we stopped on our way back at a grocery store for ~$10 worth of snacks, which did more than get us home (was part of our lunch the next day). 

I think we have broken the habit of going out for dinner if it is just DH and I. We have gotten so much better at meal planning/cooking. Doing groceries on Monday/Tuesday vs the weekend has helped with that because it means we get to Friday PM with food in our fridge to eat. I also like that we have shifted our mind set to travel foods. Eating our home cooked food on our road trip had 0 negative impact on our lives, but if we continue those habits there will be many positive impacts to our savings!

One thing to improve: Keeping mustachian habits when other friends are involved. We could have easily gone out and bought some breakfast supplies instead of getting Starbucks, but the friend suggested Starbucks, and it was easier to say yes than suggest an alternative plan. We could have even been more proactive and packed some breakfast food with us, but we aren't quite at that point (yet)...but considering that this trip could have costed us easily double what it did (just on food)...not to bad!

 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on August 23, 2017, 01:52:44 AM
I am doing reasonably well this week. I bought some basic food, like cheap bread and not too much veggies and some milk. For the rest we are eating meat from the freezer, that was bought some time ago cheaply across the border.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on August 23, 2017, 02:32:36 AM
I mastered poached eggs. Goodbye, expensive brunch, hello as many poached eggs as I can eat! Next up is perfecting oven baked bacon and hollandaise, then we can host my favourite meal of the day XD
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DarkandStormy on August 23, 2017, 08:05:03 AM
Will need to make one, maybe two more stops this month totaling less than $100.

We've spent $192 on groceries so far this month.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: JanF on August 23, 2017, 10:51:54 AM
I mastered poached eggs. Goodbye, expensive brunch, hello as many poached eggs as I can eat! Next up is perfecting oven baked bacon and hollandaise, then we can host my favourite meal of the day XD

I used to work at a restaurant and they use a hollandiase mix and jazz it up with a little lemon juice. It's a lot less effort and cheaper than "real" hollandaise but I think it taste just as good and that how I make my eggs benedict at home too.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Anatidae V on August 23, 2017, 05:04:55 PM
I mastered poached eggs. Goodbye, expensive brunch, hello as many poached eggs as I can eat! Next up is perfecting oven baked bacon and hollandaise, then we can host my favourite meal of the day XD

I used to work at a restaurant and they use a hollandiase mix and jazz it up with a little lemon juice. It's a lot less effort and cheaper than "real" hollandaise but I think it taste just as good and that how I make my eggs benedict at home too.
ooh, well in that case my quest is over! **Watches monthly spending drop another chunk* thanks for the tip!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Kansaslover5 on August 23, 2017, 06:11:47 PM
I've been making egg salad sandwiches and eating tuna. I also eat oatmeal and lots of veggies. I like to dip celery and jalepenos in fresh hummus. My one guilty pleasure is protein bars but I do get them very cheap. I ate out ONCE in the past month for a grand total of $4. It was a chicken sandwhich. ;)

In the mornings I usually eat some raw almonds and walnuts and maybe have a slice of watermelon. Very refreshing. Sometimes I do oatmeal, the no-sugar added kind. I sprinkle cinammon on it. Tastes great. I've been bringing my lunch to work every single day. Feels good.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Kansaslover5 on August 23, 2017, 06:13:55 PM
Oops, I forgot the best part! I've lost nearly 80 pounds since March and I exercise everyday. I quit drinking alcohol. I quit soda and I quit fast food and chips/fries/candy. I walk everywhere and I bike commute to and from work! It's been revolutionary.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on August 24, 2017, 01:32:58 AM
Oops, I forgot the best part! I've lost nearly 80 pounds since March and I exercise everyday. I quit drinking alcohol. I quit soda and I quit fast food and chips/fries/candy. I walk everywhere and I bike commute to and from work! It's been revolutionary.

Congrats.

Since I have brought my own sandwiches to work and started walking to work a few times a week, my weight has gone down a few kilos, while not dieting. Although we usually eat healthy, I just ate way too much in a cafeteria with fixed price.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on August 24, 2017, 09:42:34 AM
Oops, I forgot the best part! I've lost nearly 80 pounds since March and I exercise everyday. I quit drinking alcohol. I quit soda and I quit fast food and chips/fries/candy. I walk everywhere and I bike commute to and from work! It's been revolutionary.

Fabulous, congrats on your life-changing progress!

We are actually under our target for the month, although I do need to go grocery shopping. Our eating out was really slashed this month since I was so sick and couldn't taste anything for 11 days.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DarkandStormy on August 24, 2017, 10:04:48 AM
Oops, I forgot the best part! I've lost nearly 80 pounds since March and I exercise everyday. I quit drinking alcohol. I quit soda and I quit fast food and chips/fries/candy. I walk everywhere and I bike commute to and from work! It's been revolutionary.

WOW.  Awesome job!  Most people pick one or two of these things to implement and see positive change.  You went all-in and the results you have experienced have to feel great!  80 pounds in 5-6 months is no joke.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on August 31, 2017, 10:11:47 AM
So a "meh" month for us.  Grand total was $543 groceries (technically within the $600 budget), $76 household.  Takeout was also down (@$130 total) -- we were in great shape, but then we ate down our fridge so well before vacation that we ended up ordering Chinese, and then when we returned late Sunday we ordered pizza.

The caveat is that we were on vacation for a week in there, and that goes to the vacation budget, so our figures don't fairly represent a full month's groceries.  I don't have totals yet (DH did most of the shopping and we were with 5 other people and so took turns buying some things), but I think we did much better than usual on the overall vacation spend (only 2 dinners out the entire time, only one of which we paid for).  Although the freaking awesome bakery we discovered for breakfast did serious damage to both my pocketbook and waistline the last 4 days.

On the more positive side, $200 of that $543 was from restocking on food and milk this week -- I caved and did Safeway delivery instead of Aldi's since we got back late Sunday, and then we got the first milk delivery in three weeks today -- and very little of that will be eaten this month.  So I am going to challenge myself to really re-focus for September and keep the groceries below $450.  So far, I have had a lot of excuses why one month was high, and then I think that is going to go away and the next month will be low, but then something else happens.  So if I'm going to make the excuse now that I bought a lot of stuff on the 29th-31st that will be eaten next month, then I'm damn well going to hold myself to that.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on August 31, 2017, 02:20:23 PM
After being well under this month until two days ago, we are ending the month over $41, with $1241 spent. But, we did stock up yesterday and today at Costco and Trader Joe's, as opposed to pushing it off to the weekend. The good news is that eating out was down to $258, over $100 less than the month before. We've eaten out too much in the past week though; the kids are back in school so my husband and I have gone out to lunch more than usual. At least it's cheaper when it's just two of us and not 5, but we need to get back to going home for lunch.

We still have a long way to go. I ultimately want to get our food budget consistently under $1000 for the 5 of us, and we aren't there yet. Having a goal has really helped me though, and I know that it will continue to improve. For comparison, I tracked our spending in 2015 and 2016 but didn't try to curtail it at all. August of 2016 was $1855 on food with $680 of that being eating out, and 2015 was even worse.

So, on to September, setting my target for $1200 again.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on September 02, 2017, 09:28:51 AM
I saw Dutch cheese at a grocery store for a cheap price per kg. Usually we need to pay 40-50% more per kg. It was sliced. I bought 4 packs at will get new packs in that store when we are running out. Store is not too far from home and I drive in that direction from time to time.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Travis on September 02, 2017, 01:38:36 PM
Our first full month at our new location came in at $404.  Our target amount has always been $400 which includes household items (about $40 worth this month).  Since we moved from a military commissary to a civilian grocery market I'm happy that this expense didn't change since a commissary tends to be lower than a normal grocery store. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on September 03, 2017, 05:26:12 PM
Monthly averages pre challenge:
Total: $1355
Groceries: $588
Restaurants: $423
Fastfood/coffee shops: $273
Alcohol: $71

August totals: $775
Groceries: $285 (on vacation for 2 weeks)
Restaurants: $422 (all trips/vacation spending)
Fastfood/coffee shops: $7 (packed our own snacks/coffee for trips!)
Alcohol: $61

Yay! We saved $580! Even though we went on vacation and another weekend trip and spent the same on restaurants comparative to past averagea we actually paid for 3 meals for others...and the restaurants were all delicious! I'm so happy we got our fast food spend down!

Still have some improvements to make, but liking the extra $580 in my pocket!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on September 04, 2017, 04:42:53 AM
My grocery spend is still > 4000 NOK (norwegian crowns) each month, for 2 persons. I want it to be lower. But my freezer is full of meat, which is pretty expensive. It was almost empty somewhere before the summer when we had eaten most of the contents.
I just need to stop buying meat all the time and don't overfill the freezer unless we buy meat on sale or catch our own fish. It is just such a habit of mine to buy meat when I shop groceries. Last week however, I bought some cheap cabbage and cheap schnitzel.

I think we have about 20 portions of meat or fish in the freezer. Mini-challenge: I should not buy more meat or fish for the rest of September (we will be away on vacation during 8 of these days).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on September 04, 2017, 11:36:39 AM
The good:  most of this week is leftover from last week, and the Aldi's missing ingredients + restocking came in at $57.  Huzzah, some traction.  Amazing how much easier it is without kids in tow.  ;-)

The bad:  Amazon messed up my Subscribe and Save and sent me three things I swear I canceled (but I am stuck with because I didn't print out the page showing the cancellation).  Not a big deal overall, because it's all stuff I will use, but it means my household spend so far this month is $68 instead of $24.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DarkandStormy on September 05, 2017, 07:41:11 AM
Our August total: $330 (with a couple "household" items included)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Drole on September 08, 2017, 11:02:29 AM
I decided I would start visiting the grocery store after the gym as it is only a few blocks away and they have started doing more "close to expiration date" markdowns.  While this will put me in the store more frequently, I'm hoping to limit it to a "perimeter of the store" sweep.  I had been wanting to buy a spiral sliced ham for kid school lunches (deli meats are just too $$) and today I found sliced hams that had been reduced to $1.50 per pound and had an extra $5 off coupon so I got one for $1 per pound.  Also found some chopped greens for half off (making them less than the plain ol' unpackaged greens). 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on September 17, 2017, 08:59:35 AM
Two weeks later, and we're back on the downside swing.  Last week, we didn't need much, so DH popped out to grab "one or two things" at Safeway, and came back having dropped $100.  But really, this one is on me:  I dropped $170 at Aldi's and another $217 at Wegman's.  Biggest contributor was the last-minute decision to save money by throwing a homemade pizza party (see Antimustachian Hall of Shame/Frugal Intentions, Horribly Executed for more detail).  But Aldi's had Oktoberfest stuff, so I stocked up on a ton of sausages (which DH adores) and spaetzle, plus enough yogurt for the kids' lunches to last through the apocalypse.  And then we had moths in the back pantry a few weeks ago, and so I have been replacing a bunch of stuff that got infested.  And then to top it all off, I had run out of some staples and bought giant quantities from Amazon for the volume discount (e.g., soy sauce, sesame oil, bleach, dishwasher detergent).  So, basically, a few periodic stock-up needs/wants coincided with a giant crash and burn.  MTD: $504 groceries, $186 household, $91 takeout.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on September 18, 2017, 12:22:56 PM
Since end of August have found out I'm pregnant, and also that I'm moving for a new job semi across the country in a few weeks. Grocery/eating out spend has been all out of wack (kind of for the above reasons, other for just being lazy). No idea how we are doing so far. Afraid to check!! Good news is the past two times we have gone out for dinner, someone else has paid!! Huzzah! 


Ok, I went to check. Total So far: $483
Groceries: $313  - We bought a lot more meat than normal. Thought we were hosting friends, turns out we went to dinner instead.
Restaurants: $118 - Ok not too bad, could be better.
Fastfood/coffee shops: $45 -1 Tim Horton's Breakfast (not needed), and 1 DELICIOUS Wendy's Meal on vacation road trip (needed)*
Vending Machines: $3 - Mr. HH needs to learn to pack more snacks.
Alcohol and bars: $0- That was an easy 0 for me :D



* The Wendy's in Cornwall Ontario is the best Wendy's/Fast food I have ever tasted. We stop there on our yearly road trip from Toronto the east coast. Yes it it isn't very mustachian, but for the quality you get here it is pretty good bang for your buck! We plan our whole drive back to arrive there around dinner time haha!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: badscooter on September 22, 2017, 09:40:29 AM
Gah! New member, trying to get on the MMM horse/lifestyle. Just checked my grocery/restaurant spend for 8/16 - 9/14. The horror, the horror:

Groceries: $806.93
Restaurants: $506.22

To be fair, the groceries include household items, including essential baby items (diapers, wipes, formula, food), but still. Gah!

Gonna try to take baby steps and cut this total bill to $1000, and then proceed further. Love the forum and the support here!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on September 29, 2017, 03:02:01 AM
I find it challenging to get the grocery bill low. My grocery bill includes toothpaste and such things as well. I live in one of the most expensive countries in the world. My household is two adult people. NOK below means Norwegian crowns.

Usually my bill is between 4200-5500 NOK (= 530 - 695 USD). This month, for the first time this year, my bill is at approx 3300 NOK (416 USD), but this has a very good reason. We went on vacation to Crete for a week in September and ate out in restaurants, which were mostly paid for by my DH, whose expenses I don't check.

I made the following changes earlier this year:
- shop at cheaper stores
- buy cheaper bread
- buy bigger quantities on sale
- compare prices between brands and unit prices
- bought a good amount of meat in Sweden when we visited there (is a lot cheaper)
- I have become a member of a grocery bonus program and receive regular money from them
- I use a cashback credit card with 3% on groceries

Now is the season for cabbage being extremely cheap. So we ate cabbage last week and will eat it again this week. One cabbage is enough for 2 meals and that is quite enough for 1 week in my opinion. I keep trying to make it cheaper, but I also want to eat well and healthy.

Current situation is a full fridge (lots of veggies that can tolerate to last some days). The freezer still has a lot of Swedish meat and some self-caught fish that we just need to eat. Also a lot of frozen or dried self picked mushrooms in the house, but this is not substantial food. I saw that I have way too much toothpaste, so I can stop buying that for the next half year.

I did buy my new washing detergent at a cheaper shop that sells much bigger quantities. I suppose that helps as well.
We'll see at the end of the year whether I've done better than last year.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DarkandStormy on September 29, 2017, 07:00:31 AM
Via rebates that came in this month, we knocked our grocery spend down (two of us) to $246 in September.  Would have been $296 without the rebates (which were bought in July-August this summer).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Travis on September 29, 2017, 09:32:02 PM
Even with a little splurging on salmon this week we came in at $391!  This month I need to pay a little more attention to the receipts and properly separate food from hygiene or cleaning supplies.  The numbers I report every month are what is bought at the grocery store in total.  Also, we only spent $40 at restaurants.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on October 01, 2017, 07:43:52 AM
Well, we recovered from the giant shopping trip, but the damage was already done.  Since 9/17, we spent $71 on groceries (dairy, produce, more cheese for more homemade pizza), and $19 on household stuff (kiddos), with no weeknight takeout.  I tried very hard to plan meals out of the freezer and pantry and just supplement with perishables as necessary.  We also had very little food waste, so I feel good about that.  The bad news is the monthly total is still $575 for groceries, $205 for household, and $91 takeout thanks to me losing my mind two weeks ago.

ETA:  Well, good habits and recent learnings will be tested today:  both DD and DH want to come with me to the store, and we need a fair amout of staples.  Fingers crossed.

Edit #2:  Survived!  Even with DD and significant meat/cheese purchases, managed Aldi's with $112 groceries, $9 household.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on October 01, 2017, 12:26:18 PM
Averages before challenge
Total: $1355
Groceries: $588
Restaurants: $423
Fastfood/coffee shops: $273
Alcohol: $71

August/September totals: $775/ $800
Groceries: $285/ $480
Restaurants: $422/ $139
Fastfood/coffee shops: $7/$141
Alcohol: $61/$38

Oddly enough I thought this month was going to be worse! We were actually below August, but then we did groceries yesterday that pushed us above the august average.

I felt like we ate out a lot, but we did it at lower cost restaurants than in August. We are currently packing/moving so food prep motivation has been low. I think we have had some food waste issues this month as the grocery bill seems high (we did get a lot more meat this month), and there is no way we ate everything we bought.

I'm moving semi across country in October, and Mr.HH will follow in a few weeks. Our grocery bill is going to go way way down over the next few months as we will be living with in-laws, it will be interesting to see how everything gets settled down after we finally move into our own place. Still loving the drastic difference to the pre-challenge numbers!!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on October 02, 2017, 12:37:19 AM
Grrmpff!
My internet bank has technical trouble today and cannot show me my spending level. I'll check again later.

I have noticed that I sometimes buy extra unnecessary stuff when shopping groceries or other shopping. So I should try to reduce the number of shopping trips. Or just stick strictly to my shopping list. I need a few staples that are not for sale in the cheapest store, so I'll need to visit one of the more expensive shops. I think I'll survive when I also buy some veggies there, but I shouldn't buy a lot of staples.

Yesterday my DH cooked vegetarian food, so we saved some money there. We had cashew nuts instead of meat.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on October 08, 2017, 07:35:14 PM
So ok for the first two shopping trips of the month + monthly Subscribe & Save, for a total of $238 groceries, $53 household.  Had one takeout last week, for a DS school fundraiser at the pizza parlor ($30).

But I am going to have to release myself from my vow to avoid weeknight takeout for the next few weeks or months.  I am apparently in the midst of a pretty significant depression, to where even getting a couple of hours of work done leaves me too wiped out to cook.  So I have decided that for my mental health, while I am getting this under control, I am not going to put pressure on myself to get dinner done if I just can't hack it.  I hope DH and the kids will step up, and I have things like hot dogs and sausages to make it easy for them to do so.  But I need to relieve myself from the weight of that responsibility if they choose to do things differently than I do -- if they get takeout, I can't see that as a failure, because then I will just jump back in and take over meals again, and then I'm back in the cycle of pushing myself too hard and failing and crashing and cycling down instead of getting better.

It sucks.  I hate admitting weakness.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on October 09, 2017, 01:21:35 AM
So ok for the first two shopping trips of the month + monthly Subscribe & Save, for a total of $238 groceries, $53 household.  Had one takeout last week, for a DS school fundraiser at the pizza parlor ($30).

But I am going to have to release myself from my vow to avoid weeknight takeout for the next few weeks or months.  I am apparently in the midst of a pretty significant depression, to where even getting a couple of hours of work done leaves me too wiped out to cook.  So I have decided that for my mental health, while I am getting this under control, I am not going to put pressure on myself to get dinner done if I just can't hack it.  I hope DH and the kids will step up, and I have things like hot dogs and sausages to make it easy for them to do so.  But I need to relieve myself from the weight of that responsibility if they choose to do things differently than I do -- if they get takeout, I can't see that as a failure, because then I will just jump back in and take over meals again, and then I'm back in the cycle of pushing myself too hard and failing and crashing and cycling down instead of getting better.

It sucks.  I hate admitting weakness.

Dear Laura, you deserve an arm around your shoulder.

You are not personally responsible for the behaviour of your spouse and older children. You can only kindly try to influence them to behave in a certain way. But they are responsible for their own deeds. You are a very busy woman and should not be forced to also cook for them every single day. They should contribute as well and unfortunately you cannot control how they do this, only encourage them.

I only control my own expenses strictly. DH does not want to share his transactions with me, or monitor his own. Fine, then I'll just monitor mine plus our general expenses. That is what I can influence.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on October 09, 2017, 06:05:30 AM
. . . .

Linda -- thank you! <3
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Hula Hoop on October 09, 2017, 06:13:08 AM
So ok for the first two shopping trips of the month + monthly Subscribe & Save, for a total of $238 groceries, $53 household.  Had one takeout last week, for a DS school fundraiser at the pizza parlor ($30).

But I am going to have to release myself from my vow to avoid weeknight takeout for the next few weeks or months.  I am apparently in the midst of a pretty significant depression, to where even getting a couple of hours of work done leaves me too wiped out to cook.  So I have decided that for my mental health, while I am getting this under control, I am not going to put pressure on myself to get dinner done if I just can't hack it.  I hope DH and the kids will step up, and I have things like hot dogs and sausages to make it easy for them to do so.  But I need to relieve myself from the weight of that responsibility if they choose to do things differently than I do -- if they get takeout, I can't see that as a failure, because then I will just jump back in and take over meals again, and then I'm back in the cycle of pushing myself too hard and failing and crashing and cycling down instead of getting better.

It sucks.  I hate admitting weakness.

Dear Laura, you deserve an arm around your shoulder.

You are not personally responsible for the behaviour of your spouse and older children. You can only kindly try to influence them to behave in a certain way. But they are responsible for their own deeds. You are a very busy woman and should not be forced to also cook for them every single day. They should contribute as well and unfortunately you cannot control how they do this, only encourage them.

I only control my own expenses strictly. DH does not want to share his transactions with me, or monitor his own. Fine, then I'll just monitor mine plus our general expenses. That is what I can influence.

I agree with Linda.  You're not responsible for your husband and older kids' behavior.  All you can do is state your case and then let them do things their way.  And while you're not feeling well, the last thing you need is more pressure and stress.  ((Laura)) I hope you feel better soon.  I've only been here a short time but have really enjoyed your comments.

I have a similar issue in that my husband, while generally frugal, buys his lunch every day.  It's usually the Euro 3 rice special at the local Indian takeout so nothing fancy but kind of annoying when we have a fridge full of food at home.  But it's totally not worth starting WW3 over and also not worth me having to get up even earlier to pack him lunch every day (because God knows, there is no way he'd remember).  I have enough on my plate as a full time working mother - at a certain point you just have to 'let it goooo' (sorry - the 5 year old is really into that movie and has the sound track on continuously all weekend).
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on October 15, 2017, 06:32:25 PM
Decent news this week - groceries for $95, including a twice-monthly dairy delivery, household $7, and despite the depression, I still managed to cook or we had easy alternatives like brats, so the only takeout was me for two "I caved" breakfasts ($4 total).  So month to date is $335 groceries,* $35 takeout, $60 household.

I know it's just "okay"; I mean, as long as I'm not willing to give up luxuries like the dairy delivery, I'm never going to be badass.  But honestly, as totally crappy as I have felt, the numbers feel like a total win -- even when I gave myself and the family permission to cave and order takeout whenever they wanted, we still managed not to.  They took a lot of pressure off me by being happy enough with basic stuff.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I did spend more than that (ALDI had a massive display of Halloween stuff, so we are now fully stocked up for way less $$ than in previous years, and I picked up a bunch of Gold Bond and similar stuff to send in a care package to a friend's son who is off to train to try to be a Green Beret), but those don't count towards my grocery/household budget.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on October 16, 2017, 01:02:15 AM
I know it's just "okay"; I mean, as long as I'm not willing to give up luxuries like the dairy delivery, I'm never going to be badass.  But honestly, as totally crappy as I have felt, the numbers feel like a total win -- even when I gave myself and the family permission to cave and order takeout whenever they wanted, we still managed not to.  They took a lot of pressure off me by being happy enough with basic stuff.


And who says we need to be badass all the time. That's a good thing to do when paying off a consumer debt. But we shouldn't need to go suffering through life before FIRE. As long as the numbers make you happy, your doing good enough.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Drole on October 16, 2017, 12:46:43 PM

I know it's just "okay"; I mean, as long as I'm not willing to give up luxuries like the dairy delivery, I'm never going to be badass. 


Have I ever mentioned my fresh, raw cream?  $12 or $13 a quart.  I gave it up when I gave up dairy....otherwise I'd still be ordering it.  And yes, that's about $600 a year in cream. Indulge where you need to indulge. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on October 31, 2017, 09:12:46 AM
End of October update:  well, managing the depression + multiple back-to-school fundraisers + apparently running out of everything our house uses for no apparent reason has combined to mess with my best-laid plans.  I did ok with groceries for the last two weeks at $175 -- I tried the new Weis, which wasn't really that great, but I didn't have time to do two runs (out of town) so spent probably $20 more than necessary there.  The big blip was deciding to treat the family, which has been really good about not complaining about everything I'm not buying -- I picked up a bunch of ice cream at Weis since our local parlor is closed for the season, and I made a trip to the Italian deli to get DH a bunch of fancy stuff that he really likes (plus fresh ricotta for me!), so that's probably $60-70 total that was completely and intentionally frivolous.  I remind myself (like someone reminded me) that it's about finding something that works for all of us, not meeting an arbitrary target; they are not going to be happy if they don't have their stuff, so if I can knock those treats down to once every month or six weeks, we're still better than when I was buying stuff like that every week or two.  So MTD for groceries was $508.  Household for this last couple of weeks was $63 (I thought we were in good shape until I saw a receipt from a Safeway trip I didn't know DH made Sunday), for $123 total. 

The real killer was takeout -- we've had two school fundraisers this month at the local pizza place, and I've been up and down in my ability to cook, so all told we were at $92 for the last two weeks and $127 for the month.  But that comes with an asterisk, as I worked late last night and DH ordered Chinese and I have no clue how much that was, probably another $40-50.

So in the end, I did manage to keep the groceries and household close to my $600 combined target, and most of what pushed us over was intentional choices on my part, but I'm still disappointed, because I hate not meeting targets, even when I've told myself I don't need to.  We did noticeably better than last month, but "yay, I didn't suck as much" isn't exactly compelling. :-) 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on October 31, 2017, 10:17:52 AM
Our town has two grocery stores. The most expensive one had discount week. I bougt four loafs of  bread for a good price and some nice croissant-like buns for very low price. All put in the freezer. The luxury buns are saved for the weekend. I put them in bags two by two in the store, so that the store pays for all the bags. I should do that more often.
I didn't find much else I needed and didn't end up buying a lot of cheap stuff I don't need.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on October 31, 2017, 01:15:28 PM
Formatting of my challenge posts was bothering me so I've included a table at the bottom.

This month was a transition month, a lot of our restaurant and bar tabs are from moving/going away dinners with friends. Takeout and coffee shops* were definitely higher due to packing/moving/travelling. Groceries are lower as we are now living with inlaws who refuse to let us pay for groceries. Goal for November is to CHOP those coffeeshops and fast food categories.

*Most of our coffee shop bill is for food (Sandwiches, breakfasts) not coffee.  We actually rarely buy just drinks at a coffee shop.

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on October 31, 2017, 04:32:01 PM
I sucked dreadfully at grocery and eating out spending in October. We were just so busy, every week and every weekend (and work...it was a hard month at work), and ate out WAY too much. Spending was nearly $300 over my target. Ugh. I'm going to try and get a handle on it again in November. Soccer season is almost over and then our schedule will be so much easier. Full disclosure: spent $1492.72 on food this month, for my family of 5 (plus whichever kids' friends happened to be over...teenagers eat a lot, especially when there's more than one present). It does include alcohol, candy (too much candy corn, and too many treats from Trader Joes), and other food purchased for tonight's Halloween party at our neighbor's house, but still, that wasn't $300 worth. MUST get the food spending back to where it was earlier this year. :(

Laura, you are doing MUCH, MUCH better than I am, if it's any consolation. And, just some general hugs your way for the depression and all.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on October 31, 2017, 07:34:46 PM
Formatting of my challenge posts was bothering me so I've included a table at the bottom.

This month was a transition month, a lot of our restaurant and bar tabs are from moving/going away dinners with friends. Takeout and coffee shops* were definitely higher due to packing/moving/travelling. Groceries are lower as we are now living with inlaws who refuse to let us pay for groceries. Goal for November is to CHOP those coffeeshops and fast food categories.

*Most of our coffee shop bill is for food (Sandwiches, breakfasts) not coffee.  We actually rarely buy just drinks at a coffee shop.

Hey, you moved AND still spent over $100 less than in any other month since you've been tracking.  Take your win.  ;-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: boarder42 on November 01, 2017, 08:47:48 AM
we're on track to spend about 400 on avg for the year not too bad.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on November 01, 2017, 09:27:51 AM
Thanks Laura, a lot of that is due to free groceries...but the trend is positive :D
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: haypug16 on November 06, 2017, 09:57:22 AM
So after tracking my spending and separating Groceries from meals out I have determined that I am spending on average $236 a month on food. Since this is only food for myself I know I can do better. New goal is to get under $200 for November. Should be pretty easy then we'll see about lower the goal for December.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DarkandStormy on November 06, 2017, 12:20:18 PM
So after tracking my spending and separating Groceries from meals out I have determined that I am spending on average $236 a month on food. Since this is only food for myself I know I can do better. New goal is to get under $200 for November. Should be pretty easy then we'll see about lower the goal for December.

That's really good - I average about $8.50/day for food (includes alcohol out and "household" items on grocery receipts - so actual "food" costs may be more like $7.50/day).  90 meals a month, remember.  I'm not sure $200 is possible unless you eat a bunch of rice and beans or packs of ramen.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: haypug16 on November 06, 2017, 01:11:37 PM
So after tracking my spending and separating Groceries from meals out I have determined that I am spending on average $236 a month on food. Since this is only food for myself I know I can do better. New goal is to get under $200 for November. Should be pretty easy then we'll see about lower the goal for December.

That's really good - I average about $8.50/day for food (includes alcohol out and "household" items on grocery receipts - so actual "food" costs may be more like $7.50/day).  90 meals a month, remember.  I'm not sure $200 is possible unless you eat a bunch of rice and beans or packs of ramen.

Well I don't really eat meat, my coffee at work is free, breakfast is typically oatmeal, and my part-time job often buys me lunch so I'll come in and help them out. So far this month they have bought me lunch twice (and left overs last at least for one more meal). So I think $200 is possible. Its $6.67 per day for the month and so far I'm at $18.98 so that leaves me $7.24 per day for the remaining 25 days.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on November 06, 2017, 01:19:13 PM
I have shared this in other places, but I really enjoy this vlog. These guys have done $1/meal for a week series as well as the newest series of "What can you eat for the price of 1 starbucks coffee per day" (So $1.45/meal).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjeY6Bzg6jw

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Runrooster on November 08, 2017, 06:54:18 PM
I watched the vlog on spending less than $1.45/meal.  It seems easy to do for a week or month, but limits variety in the long run. He buys the obvious food: apples, carrots, cabbage, bone in thighs, beans, potatoes.  But if you can bump your food budget from $130 to $200, you get much more choice in ingredients.

I think my family has our budget dialed in, at $400 for 3 adults. We eat mostly vegetarian, beans daily.  We shop at cheaper markets, shop the sales, and eat out less than once a month. We haven't actually tracked receipts, but this is a decent estimate.  But I'm trying to train myself to spend more, both on raw ingredients and convenience foods, because it's a drop in the budget.  For example, last week I didn't buy the $5 cauliflower (usually $3) or the 1.79/lb eggplant (usually $1/lb) and bought lots of the squash .69/lb, usually twice that.  On the one hand, we are fine eating what I bought; on the other hand we can afford to buy 2-3 nonsale items.

Anyone else have a habit of cutting the budget too far? 

I think also because I've been on a diet and avoiding convenience foods, I don't remember how to loosen the reins.
Like, what is a dairy delivery? Is that raw milk or fresh ricotta or specialty cheeses? 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: ACyclist on November 08, 2017, 09:34:11 PM
We've cut back on organics.  The cost of it is astronomically expensive.  We do still get organic dairy and certain fruits and veg that way.  Our spending is about 100 a week for two people.  There are no Costco stores near us.  Mostly what we eat is produce.  I have no idea how some people can spend so little on food.  An apple is almost a buck in itself.  We do about 80-100 a week, and I am happy with that.  We east very healthily.  With two very active athletes in the house, we go through a lot of food.

We don't buy prepared things or junk.  However, a bag of almonds is going to be expensive no matter what you do.  The nearest Costco is about 90 minutes away, so that just isn't feasible.  I spend a bit more on food, but save on other things like transportation and housing costs.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on November 09, 2017, 05:39:44 AM
@Runrooster, totally agree about the vlog, but I do enjoy some of his ideas, in a previous series he used raw chickpeas to make a chickpea flour and made panckaes out of them for lunches. This is something I would have never thought of doing!

I also have a habit of pinching pennies in the wrong places...for example, I LOVE pink lady apples, but they are about 2-3x times the cost of cheaper apples....so I haven't bought a pink lady apple in years. Totally reasonable life sacrifice!

Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on November 09, 2017, 12:08:21 PM
Like, what is a dairy delivery? Is that raw milk or fresh ricotta or specialty cheeses?

:-)  We have a local farm about an hour or so away that has cows and chickens and meats and fruits/vegs, and which offers delivery for about $5.  I have tried a whole bunch of their products, and my favorites are far and away the milk and the butter (the milk is pasteurized but is like nothing else I've had anywhere) -- they are more expensive, but worth it to me.  The eggs are also delicious, but they aren't worth the 2-3x upcharge compared to Aldi.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on November 09, 2017, 02:09:49 PM
I just made a dish of a whole cabbage, a lot of potatoes and two portions of minced meat. This is cooked/fried and served with curry powder. Nice cheap dish and I made five portions, while we are only two people. The rest will be eaten later.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Runrooster on November 09, 2017, 02:28:04 PM
@Runrooster, totally agree about the vlog, but I do enjoy some of his ideas, in a previous series he used raw chickpeas to make a chickpea flour and made panckaes out of them for lunches. This is something I would have never thought of doing!

I also have a habit of pinching pennies in the wrong places...for example, I LOVE pink lady apples, but they are about 2-3x times the cost of cheaper apples....so I haven't bought a pink lady apple in years. Totally reasonable life sacrifice!

You can buy the chickpea flour in ethnic stores, and pancakes is one of three major uses plus tons minor uses in Indian cuisine.  Most blenders won't make flour unless you soak the beans for batter.

I would justify the apples in that I spend that much on raspberries, guavas, lychees. Just buy less. Now I have to pick up one to see what the hype is about.  I just buy the .99/lb Fuji or galas.

Thanks, Laura for the skinny on dairy.  I guess I'll hold off on trying that since we already pay through the nose for lactose-free milk.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on November 16, 2017, 01:19:44 PM
Slightly off topic, but in living with my inlaws I can't get over the quantity of food they have at any given time. Their fridge/cupboards are constantly full..including produce! For example just for fruit options right now there is a giant thing of tangerines, a 5 lb bag of apples, grapes, berries, bananas, pears, more clementines, 2 pomegranates. Mr.HH and I would typically have bananas and berries, or clementines and grapes...maybe 2 options of the above mentioned list.

And they don't seem to look in the fridge to plan out what is a must-go and meal plan accordingly. Right now there are quite a few leftovers/produce items that should be used up for dinner tonight but instead my FIL just went to the grocery store and bought a big premade salad with a rotisserie chicken (which sounds delicious so I'm not too mad about that :D)

It boggles my mind. Just the "inventory management" of it all and trying not to waste food would stress me out too much. I wonder what their grocery bill is!! (They rarely eat out, so I guess there overall food spend probably isn't too bad.)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on November 20, 2017, 04:57:10 PM
Slightly off topic, but in living with my inlaws I can't get over the quantity of food they have at any given time. Their fridge/cupboards are constantly full..including produce! For example just for fruit options right now there is a giant thing of tangerines, a 5 lb bag of apples, grapes, berries, bananas, pears, more clementines, 2 pomegranates. Mr.HH and I would typically have bananas and berries, or clementines and grapes...maybe 2 options of the above mentioned list.

And they don't seem to look in the fridge to plan out what is a must-go and meal plan accordingly. Right now there are quite a few leftovers/produce items that should be used up for dinner tonight but instead my FIL just went to the grocery store and bought a big premade salad with a rotisserie chicken (which sounds delicious so I'm not too mad about that :D)

It boggles my mind. Just the "inventory management" of it all and trying not to waste food would stress me out too much. I wonder what their grocery bill is!! (They rarely eat out, so I guess there overall food spend probably isn't too bad.)

We almost always have that much fruit in our fridge. Right now we have: grapes, pomegranates, oranges, bananas, pears, plums, apples, a melon & a pineapple. We eat it all. My husband is, admittedly, obsessed with an abundance of produce. I grew up with 1-2 options at any given time, so it's been quite an adjustment. Given that we're eating it all, and it's super healthy, I let it go. I do wish we ate only in season, but that's another battle. ;-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on November 21, 2017, 08:58:24 AM
New to the thread, but we've shaved 10% off of our spending on food (groceries + dining out) from 2016. I'm hoping to drop this by another 5% in 2018. We have 10 & 11 year old boys, so we'll be doing that while their appetites increase dramatically. Things I've done differently this year:
-Pack more food for days when we'll be out of the house
-Take full meals, snacks & water when going to soccer tournaments
-Making eating out a "special occasion" vs just something we're doing on busy weeknights
-Filling the fridge/freezer with easy options for my husband when I travel
-Minimizing waste
-And, the standard shopping around, making do with ingredients I already have, batch cooking, etc.

I cook full meals 3x/week (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday) & then we eat leftovers during the work week. With the extra day, we either eat a freezer meal, or have a smorgasbord of one serving leftovers, etc.

I hope there will be a similar thread in 2018!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on November 28, 2017, 10:08:36 AM
Well, one of the ways that I've helped rein in my grocery spend over the last year is by participating in the "Eat All the Food in Your House" thread.  The best way to save money is not to spend it, right?!?

But over the weekend, Shoppers Drug Mart (Cdn Pharmacy, that has been expanding to sell more and more basic groceries) had a "Spend Your Points" Event.  So I spent my points on food!  Now my cupboards, fridge and freezer are again full to overflowing, but I stocked up on a lot of stuff that should leave me only needing occasional dairy and produce purchases for the next couple of months.

Also, Shoppers Drug Mart's Optimum program is merging with President's Choice point program in February, so when that time rolls around, I'll be able to use the excess points still in my account to buy groceries at Loblaw's, No Frills, etc, so even those produce and dairy purchases can be made with points.  Yay!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: rpr on November 28, 2017, 10:24:32 AM
I have to just say that it's been somewhat of a failure for me to control grocery costs. A large part has been that we do live in a somewhat expensive COL area for groceries. Almost everything is shipped here. For reference, a gallon of milk is $5-6 and a dozen eggs is almost $4. Ended up averaging about $600 for two people ($300 per person) per month thus far.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on November 28, 2017, 10:31:04 AM
I have to just say that it's been somewhat of a failure for me to control grocery costs. A large part has been that we do live in a somewhat expensive COL area for groceries. Almost everything is shipped here. For reference, a gallon of milk is $5-6 and a dozen eggs is almost $4. Ended up averaging about $600 for two people ($300 per person) per month thus far.

Hey rpr, that's ok, you're not the only one.  A couple of other people also live in places where food costs are out of this world.  Years ago (early 1990's) I spent a couple of months living in Iqaluit, Nunavut.  A bag of milk (4 litres - a little over 1 US gallon?) at that time was $12!  A 24 case of pop was $24.

So you might not be able to hit the lows that people living in other places get to, but you can challenge yourself to shave off here and there in comparison to last year's budget.  I'm guessing that the biggest bang for your buck might be in what items you choose to buy in the first place, and making as much from scratch as possible?  Do feel free to share your best tips and tricks!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: rpr on November 28, 2017, 02:20:10 PM
PJ -- Thank you. It must have been interesting to have lived up there in Nunavut.

Compared to last year our Groceries spending did come down from $660 to $614 :)
The unfortunate part is that our Eating Out went up from $260 to $360 :(

The eating out includes at least one fancy pants date night every month ($80-$100 for two with drinks) and getting sandwiches for lunch a couple times per week ($100 for the month). Also part of the difference is due to better tracking. We usually grab lunches to go twice a week from the deli part of our grocery store. Last year I used to label everything from the grocery store as groceries even though it included prepared sandwiches for lunch once or twice a week. This year I'm tracking it better.

Quote
Groceries Spending  Breakdown
                                         Weekly       Monthly
Farmers Market Fruit                $10.00       $43.33
Farmers Market veggies            $20.00       $86.67
Grocery Store Fruits                 $12.00       $52.00
Grocery Store Veggies              $20.00       $86.67
Frozen Products                       $8.00         $34.67
Dairy                                      $10.00       $43.33
Bread products                        $10.00       $43.33
Canned & bottled goods           $15.00       $65.00
Dry goods                               $10.00       $43.33
Liquor                                    $8.00         $34.67
Snacks                                   $8.00         $34.67
Pets                                       $15.00       $65.00

Total                                     $146.00       $632.67
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on November 29, 2017, 12:53:39 AM
During the last few months my grocery bill has actually been lower. In the first 8 months of the year I was always spending around 4000 NOK (Norwegian crowns) a month. In October I spend 3000. Now in November I am at somewhere like 3300. And we have so much meat and other proteins in the house that I don't need to shop that at all for the rest of the year I think.

I am not sure what made the change. I think I shopped less often than usual. We have making too much food almost daily, freezing in a portion and eating the portions some other day. I have also made an effort to buy cheaper meat and slow-cooked it. Sometimes DH buys food which it not included in my calculations, but I don't think he did this in October when I had the lowest spend.

I hope we can continue this good trend.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on November 29, 2017, 09:25:42 AM
November Update! Little higher than usual...
Restaurants were REALLY high this month. I realized every weekend involved some sort of event/travel with friends and family. Only a few times have been just me and Mr.HH (mostly due to travel), and only a few take out lunches.

Coffee and fast food spend is way down...yay no more crap food!

Groceries are low, even though Mr.HH is buying and cooking a lot more for his family, so I thought it would be higher!

Bars and alcohol- high considering I'M NOT DRINKING!  I think some of that was wine for hosting gifts.

We are really looking forward to having our own house soon so we can start hosting people vs going out for food all the time!


Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on November 30, 2017, 08:09:15 PM
Yeah, ok, I totally lost my shit the second half of the month.  In a good way:  basically, it seems like the anti-depressants kicked in, and I sort of pendulum-swung the other way and suddenly wanted to do All The Things at once — not quite at the mania level, but I was just so excited to feel happy and joy again that I just wanted to do everything I had been missing over the past year.  And having the entire family at my house for Thanksgiving was the perfect excuse to let ‘er rip.  So the second half of the month was $300 at Wegman’s (stupidest words ever said:  “hey, DH, why don’t you pick up whatever you want at the deli while I get the other stuff?”), plus almost $200 of Thanksgiving-specific stuff I ordered online, plus probably another $40-50 on Thanksgiving Day when I discovered that one of our guests was vegetarian and I sent DH back to the store for stuff to make three additional dishes for her.  And I was too busy running around that I totally stopped tracking in detail (I just had to recreate the past two weeks now, so it is more imprecise than usual).

So the monthly totals appear to be $715 for grocery store stuff plus about $190 for the online food, plus another $135 for household.  The only good thing is that takeout was on the order of $5 (one bagel and one pair of boiled eggs for at the office). :-) And I am still eating the Thanksgiving leftovers!

Anyway, can’t say that I feel particularly bad about it; it’s obviously not something I want to sustain long-term, but my shrink basically told me that the All The Things overcompensation is a pretty standard stage coming out of depression, and the better mental stability makes me not quite so inclined to get down on myself for that kind of blip.  The best news is that I feel much more stable and ready to go back to some version of normal, with work and regular life and such.  So, back on the horse, back on task.

The bad news is that the fucking pantry moths are back and are now in both pantries.  Ugh!!!  So I will be pitching a whole ‘nother bunch of food again this weekend, which will have to be replaced, which means December won’t get off to a great start.  OTOH, at least I still have Thanksgiving leftovers to eat. . . .  ;-)
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on December 01, 2017, 01:29:29 AM
<...>

Anyway, can’t say that I feel particularly bad about it; it’s obviously not something I want to sustain long-term, but my shrink basically told me that the All The Things overcompensation is a pretty standard stage coming out of depression, and the better mental stability makes me not quite so inclined to get down on myself for that kind of blip.  The best news is that I feel much more stable and ready to go back to some version of normal, with work and regular life and such.  So, back on the horse, back on task.

The bad news is that the fucking pantry moths are back and are now in both pantries.  Ugh!!!  So I will be pitching a whole ‘nother bunch of food again this weekend, which will have to be replaced, which means December won’t get off to a great start.  OTOH, at least I still have Thanksgiving leftovers to eat. . . .  ;-)

Focus on curing from your depression. You can probably afford to spend some more if that makes you feel happier.

About these moths... If that cupboard is not safe to keep food in, could you then store the food in extra containers inside that cupboard? Like having flour in it's own container and sugar in another. This way your food won't get spoiled when you find the moths.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on December 01, 2017, 05:08:19 AM
Wow just one more month to go.

My grocery spend definitely decreased this year. Particularly due to the generosity of others, namely the family that let is stay with them and who fed us (mostly, we contributed where we could) for the better part of three months.

Now we live basically next door to Aldi and have local walkable farmers’ markets (yes two weekend and midweek!) again so we should be able to keep our spend under control.

The two biggest challenges we face at the moment: a lack of kitchen equipment, namely a wok, and buying lunches instead of packing lunches.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on December 01, 2017, 07:58:08 AM
About these moths... If that cupboard is not safe to keep food in, could you then store the food in extra containers inside that cupboard? Like having flour in it's own container and sugar in another. This way your food won't get spoiled when you find the moths.

I've always kept my flour, sugar, etc. in glass jars as basic critter prevention.  When we had the earlier infestation, I put the other new stuff I bought (Cream of Wheat, pasta, etc.) inside Ziploc bags.  And I swear, the little motherfuckers got through the Ziplocs (I even opened up my brand new canister of oats about a month later, and there they were, underneath the lid and in the oats and all).  I am now considering making it official and buying a bunch of larger plastic storage containers to offload stuff into, or getting a chest freezer for the garage to put things like nuts and flours and dried fruits in before they come into the house (I have learned so, so much gross stuff about where the moths come from as a result of this!) -- but I keep thinking if I can just get rid of the moths, I won't need to spend all that extra money on stuff that I don't really want. 

The good(?) news is that I have finally discovered the moths' secret hiding place:  they like to lay their eggs in the little holes that were drilled in my cabinets to hold the adjustable shelves.*  So I am hoping that a full clean-down of everything this weekend will finally get to the root cause of all of this and get rid of the little bastards once and for all.

And if that doesn't work, then, yeah, I'm buying the canisters or the freezer, or both.

*I am so, so grossed out by this discovery that I cannot even tell you.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: haypug16 on December 01, 2017, 07:58:33 AM
Finished November at $242. Not terrible but my meals out was $253! I need to find some balance here. I shouldn't be spending as much on groceries as I am on eating out of the house. This month I'd like to keep my groceries about the same (maybe hit $200 or less even) but also keeping my meals to $150.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: PJ on December 02, 2017, 10:36:49 PM
About these moths... If that cupboard is not safe to keep food in, could you then store the food in extra containers inside that cupboard? Like having flour in it's own container and sugar in another. This way your food won't get spoiled when you find the moths.

I've always kept my flour, sugar, etc. in glass jars as basic critter prevention.  When we had the earlier infestation, I put the other new stuff I bought (Cream of Wheat, pasta, etc.) inside Ziploc bags.  And I swear, the little motherfuckers got through the Ziplocs (I even opened up my brand new canister of oats about a month later, and there they were, underneath the lid and in the oats and all).  I am now considering making it official and buying a bunch of larger plastic storage containers to offload stuff into, or getting a chest freezer for the garage to put things like nuts and flours and dried fruits in before they come into the house (I have learned so, so much gross stuff about where the moths come from as a result of this!) -- but I keep thinking if I can just get rid of the moths, I won't need to spend all that extra money on stuff that I don't really want. 

The good(?) news is that I have finally discovered the moths' secret hiding place:  they like to lay their eggs in the little holes that were drilled in my cabinets to hold the adjustable shelves.*  So I am hoping that a full clean-down of everything this weekend will finally get to the root cause of all of this and get rid of the little bastards once and for all.

And if that doesn't work, then, yeah, I'm buying the canisters or the freezer, or both.

*I am so, so grossed out by this discovery that I cannot even tell you.

And I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say that we are all so, so sorry you're going through this.

And also, I'm not sure whether I want to know anything more about the moths and where they come from...
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on December 08, 2017, 08:09:29 AM
And also, I'm not sure whether I want to know anything more about the moths and where they come from...

No, no, you really don't.  :-)  Almost hurled cleaning out the little holes and seeing all the moth detritus in what I had thought was a "clean" pantry.  And then almost cried throwing out so much food.

In related news, I have now dropped @$200 on bug-proof storage containers and moth-prevention cleaning/treatment stuff.*  Put that together with the monthly subscribe & save order, DS' stomach flu, and stocking up on some baking supplies, and my initial awesome $58 ALDI shop has now ballooned into $134 groceries, $287 household, and probably $25 takeout (worked late and authorized kids to get pizza last night -- need to get receipt from DD).

*Life tip:  just like you should never shop for groceries when hungry, do NOT shop for bug-treatment-and-prevention supplies when you have just spent a half-day cleaning and scrubbing and are SO grossed out you cannot stand it.  It's a miracle I didn't order a giant freezer for my garage, too.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Frugal Lizard on December 08, 2017, 08:23:25 AM
*Life tip:  just like you should never shop for groceries when hungry, do NOT shop for bug-treatment-and-prevention supplies when you have just spent a half-day cleaning and scrubbing and are SO grossed out you cannot stand it.  It's a miracle I didn't order a giant freezer for my garage, too.

Definitely keeping that in mind but praying that I don't ever have to recall this piece of wisdom. Ever.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on December 11, 2017, 04:54:56 PM
Yeauggh Laura, pantry moths are so horrid!  My husband can never eat a certain kind of breakfast cereal again ever since he found he had been eating moth larva too...  I do have the chest freezer and usually pre-freeze pantry staples now. I got a little lax about it and recently ended up with a canister of weevils instead of cornmeal (fortunately don't seem to have spread.) The chest freezer cost me $100 over a decade ago but it's been a valuable tool in my frugality arsenal.

Hey, does anybody have a suggestion for the following? Last church coffee hour, I was sent home with a giant bag of pumpkin-flavored coffee cakes. Nobody really liked it (way too sweet) but I was assured it would be thrown out otherwise. Was thinking of making something like a bread pudding but reluctant to spoil good eggs and milk on an experiment. 
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on December 11, 2017, 05:43:31 PM
Yeauggh Laura, pantry moths are so horrid!  My husband can never eat a certain kind of breakfast cereal again ever since he found he had been eating moth larva too...  I do have the chest freezer and usually pre-freeze pantry staples now. I got a little lax about it and recently ended up with a canister of weevils instead of cornmeal (fortunately don't seem to have spread.) The chest freezer cost me $100 over a decade ago but it's been a valuable tool in my frugality arsenal.

Hey, does anybody have a suggestion for the following? Last church coffee hour, I was sent home with a giant bag of pumpkin-flavored coffee cakes. Nobody really liked it (way too sweet) but I was assured it would be thrown out otherwise. Was thinking of making something like a bread pudding but reluctant to spoil good eggs and milk on an experiment.

Gagging hard on the idea of eating moth larva. . . *shivers*

Can you describe the pumpkin coffee cakes? Are they small, individual sized? Homemade? I'm having a hard time visualizing them & how they could be used, but I'm sure there's a way!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on December 11, 2017, 08:51:52 PM
Sorry to have brought up that disgusting image! 

The coffee cakes are individual size, about 4" diameter and I think they must be factory made. Not stale yet. We have about a dozen. I'm thinking about making some sort of parfait with one, maybe soaking with heavy cream and adding nuts, to see if that dilutes the sugar a bit. Maybe it's a lost cause.  Even my teen, who is sort of a human plague of locusts (to continue the bugs talk), passed on them after eating half of one. The taste is very cloying.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Tuskalusa on December 11, 2017, 11:27:44 PM
What about making a bread pudding?  Maybe just soak with eggs and milk. Add some raisins and apple and bake it up?  Might work. 😀
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on December 12, 2017, 08:27:45 AM
Sorry to have brought up that disgusting image! 

The coffee cakes are individual size, about 4" diameter and I think they must be factory made. Not stale yet. We have about a dozen. I'm thinking about making some sort of parfait with one, maybe soaking with heavy cream and adding nuts, to see if that dilutes the sugar a bit. Maybe it's a lost cause.  Even my teen, who is sort of a human plague of locusts (to continue the bugs talk), passed on them after eating half of one. The taste is very cloying.

First, freeze them, so you don't have to use them all right now.  Then use them in small quantities, so you can balance out the sweet with other flavors.  E.g., a bread pudding with part coffee-cake, part bread, with complementary flavors (I like the raisins and apples idea).  Or crumbling some with nuts/raisins to substitute for granola in yogurt, or mix bits with oats and nuts as a pie/crisp topping, or ground up with some nuts or whatever to use as a fall-flavored cheesecake crust.  Etc.  Think accent vs. primary element.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: MaybeBabyMustache on December 12, 2017, 03:32:15 PM
Sorry to have brought up that disgusting image! 

The coffee cakes are individual size, about 4" diameter and I think they must be factory made. Not stale yet. We have about a dozen. I'm thinking about making some sort of parfait with one, maybe soaking with heavy cream and adding nuts, to see if that dilutes the sugar a bit. Maybe it's a lost cause.  Even my teen, who is sort of a human plague of locusts (to continue the bugs talk), passed on them after eating half of one. The taste is very cloying.

First, freeze them, so you don't have to use them all right now.  Then use them in small quantities, so you can balance out the sweet with other flavors.  E.g., a bread pudding with part coffee-cake, part bread, with complementary flavors (I like the raisins and apples idea).  Or crumbling some with nuts/raisins to substitute for granola in yogurt, or mix bits with oats and nuts as a pie/crisp topping, or ground up with some nuts or whatever to use as a fall-flavored cheesecake crust.  Etc.  Think accent vs. primary element.

Yup, really like this recommendation. If they are overly sweet, you'll definitely want to use them sparingly, mixed in with other flavors.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Poundwise on December 17, 2017, 08:44:23 PM
Great advice! I might try one as a crumb crust. I threw them in the freezer anyway so I don't have to make the decision now. Teen son decided he could manage to choke down a few more so we are down to only about 8.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Well Respected Man on December 27, 2017, 08:12:50 PM
I haven't kept up with the thread for a long time, but I wanted to report the year-end results. I had set a goal of $775/month in groceries, and we ended up spending a little over $750/month. Grocery spending overall was down about 25% from last year, and about 20% on a per-person basis (son started college in fall 2016, so was home for different amounts of time each year). Alcohol spending was down over 35%. Coffee shop and fast food were both down significantly. Restaurant spending was up bigly, mostly because of our fancy summer vacation. All in, the food and beverage bill was down 15% in 2017.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: FireHiker on December 28, 2017, 03:46:06 PM
I haven't checked in here in awhile, but we've been doing alright. Our goal for the year was to keep our monthly food spending to $1200 or under (last year's average was $1774/mo, down from an even more ghastly $2126/mo in 2015, back when I started tracking spending but wasn't doing anything about it yet). October was super high, $1492. November low, $1044. So far December is $1121 but we probably have to go to the store this weekend. If we can avoid any additional spending until 1/1, then we'll have a monthly average of $1254/mo this year. I know it's still a lot more than most people spend here, but a reduction of $500/mo compared to last year, $6000 total. It adds up! If someone makes a 2018 grocery spend gauntlet I am totally in. It has been super helpful for me, as the numbers show :). I think I will make my 2018 target $1100/mo. We do a LOT of "feed any of the kids' friends who happen to be over" and I'm not willing to cut that out.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: mm1970 on December 28, 2017, 07:13:16 PM
I haven't checked in in a long time.

At the beginning of the year, I set an annual goal of $7000 for our family of 4.

Towards the end of the year, I lost focus.  I have a produce box at $40 a week, and I knew if I got it every week, I wouldn't make it.  Then December came and the SHTF with the fires.

Last Saturday, I added in the last 2 weeks of receipts, to find that I didn't actually blow it.  I was $19.55 under.  So, what to do?

I decided to go for it.  Now we have $19.05 to get us thru Sunday.  Oh but:
- We have a potluck Sunday morning that I have to make something for (scones and an egg dish, will need to buy eggs)
- We are out of peanut butter!!
- We have a party Sunday night that I have to make something for (spinach dip and tortilla chips, have all the ingredients)
- I have been invited to a hike on Jan 1, and the suggestion is to bring a snack to share for the top.  Luckily? I have a box of gingerbread flavored granola bars that I bought for the kids and didn't open.  So I hid them until then.

I've been eating a lot of oatmeal for breakfast, and figuring out how to feed the family on what we have.  Almost out of rice and beans!  But we are going to make it!  Eggs and milk and we should be good.  Thank goodness for frozen fruit and veg.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on December 29, 2017, 09:45:32 AM
Well done MM1970!!

We were higher than we would have liked this month, but considering it is the month of socializing and drinks and parties, I'm not too concerned about it!
Since starting the challenge in August, we are saving almost $600 a month comparative to before the challenge. That is HUGE!   

Looking forward to 2018 where we have our own house/more regular routine and can get flex our frugal muscles even more!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: mm1970 on December 29, 2017, 11:43:55 AM
Slightly off topic, but in living with my inlaws I can't get over the quantity of food they have at any given time. Their fridge/cupboards are constantly full..including produce! For example just for fruit options right now there is a giant thing of tangerines, a 5 lb bag of apples, grapes, berries, bananas, pears, more clementines, 2 pomegranates. Mr.HH and I would typically have bananas and berries, or clementines and grapes...maybe 2 options of the above mentioned list.

And they don't seem to look in the fridge to plan out what is a must-go and meal plan accordingly. Right now there are quite a few leftovers/produce items that should be used up for dinner tonight but instead my FIL just went to the grocery store and bought a big premade salad with a rotisserie chicken (which sounds delicious so I'm not too mad about that :D)

It boggles my mind. Just the "inventory management" of it all and trying not to waste food would stress me out too much. I wonder what their grocery bill is!! (They rarely eat out, so I guess there overall food spend probably isn't too bad.)

Crazy huh??  I've known people like that and it boggles the mind.  I visited my favorite cousin over Thanksgiving.  Hadn't seen her in 9 years or so (I live on the opposite coast from most of my family.  But my cousin moved out west, whee!)  She and hubby have two teens. 

She cooks a lot, prefers organics and eats reasonably healthy.  She asked what snacks the kids like, and I said "they eat everything".  She needn't have asked.  There was SO MUCH FOOD there.  Snack cabinet packed with nuts, fruits, the fruit pouches, crackers, you name it.  The freezer was wall to wall food, including lots of frozen fruit.  Tons of fresh fruit.  Fridge packed to the gills.  I seriously would get the hives from not being able to find anything.  My MIL is like that with salad dressing.  I swear she has 8 different bottles at a time, half expired.

Anyway, our fridge is packed full of fruit and veg at the beginning of the week.  But right now, thing is pretty empty.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: recklesslysober on December 30, 2017, 11:34:35 AM
I only decreased my annual grocery spending by $250 (around $4,000).. but my meals out went down $3,000 (to $600) so I consider that a win! Will keep working at it next year!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: mm1970 on December 30, 2017, 12:55:17 PM
I only decreased my annual grocery spending by $250 (around $4,000).. but my meals out went down $3,000 (to $600) so I consider that a win! Will keep working at it next year!
that's a definite win!!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Laura33 on January 01, 2018, 02:24:50 PM
So the final December reckoning:  $547 groceries, $398 household, and $67 takeout.  Groceries would have been better had I not discovered a much-more-awesome ALDI on 12/31.  :-). Household was atrocious, largely attributable to moth destruction and prevention (bug-proof food containers + cleaning supplies/oils they supposedly don’t like), with some last-minute running out of wrapping paper/tape and such.  The real plus this year has been on the takeout: that is something that had become mindless, and I had no idea how quickly that was adding up. 

I had not been tracking before, but I have to estimate I was spending at least $1200/mo on groceries/household, without even counting the Amazon deliveries.  So even in the bad months, I have cut that by several hundred dollars, just by paying attention.

I am very glad I did the challenge, not in spite of my failings, but because of them.  I learned that I am not as naturally frugal as I used to be 20 years ago, and I have identified a number of weak spots that I didn’t know were there.  I have also learned more about what the family is willing to do without, and for how long (e.g., I need to provide upscale meats/cheeses at least every 2-3 weeks or face revolt, i.e., DH going to the store unsupervised). 

And I’ve learned more about my own limits, too.  For ex, it turns out that I like a pleasant shopping experience — that second ALDI was bright and open and clean and had so much more stuff, and I was practically frolicking in the aisles.  It reminded me that providing food for my family brings me 3x joy: one when I am planning a menu they will like, one when I am shopping for it, and one when I am cooking/eating it.  The other ALDI was miserable and knocked out the second part of that fun, and this one brought it back.  Of course, that also meant my grocery spend was $160 instead of the under-$100 I had been managing at the local ALDI.  :-)  But if it makes me happy and keeps me from losing it and dropping $300 at Wegman’s, it’s still an overall win (plus I trust that the newness will wear off and I won’t need to buy All The Things every week). 

I also discovered that my desire for frugality does not outweigh my desire to treat my family to meals that they like, even if they are not the cheapest options.  Part of the reason this week’s bill was so big was because the new ALDI had a great selection of meats, so I stocked up on the maple sausage my kids like that the local store hadn’t had for a month or two, and I added in a London Broil to the chicken I had planned for the week because I knew it would make DH happy. 

So, basically, the lesson is balance.  Balance the fun of shopping with the cost; balance low-cost everyday stuff with more expensive treats.  Focus on “enough” and “sometimes” instead of “everything all the time,” or “nothing” and “never.”

I think the challenge for 2018 is to keep the groceries balanced — maybe $600-700/mo — and focus in on the household stuff and the takeout, both of which were significantly larger than I had realized.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Frugal Lizard on January 01, 2018, 02:46:59 PM
I have also learned more about what the family is willing to do without, and for how long (e.g., I need to provide upscale meats/cheeses at least every 2-3 weeks or face revolt, i.e., DH going to the store unsupervised). 

And I’ve learned more about my own limits, too.  For ex, it turns out that I like a pleasant shopping experience — that second ALDI was bright and open and clean and had so much more stuff, and I was practically frolicking in the aisles.  It reminded me that providing food for my family brings me 3x joy: one when I am planning a menu they will like, one when I am shopping for it, and one when I am cooking/eating it. 

I also discovered that my desire for frugality does not outweigh my desire to treat my family to meals that they like, even if they are not the cheapest options.

So, basically, the lesson is balance.  Balance the fun of shopping with the cost; balance low-cost everyday stuff with more expensive treats.  Focus on “enough” and “sometimes” instead of “everything all the time,” or “nothing” and “never.”

I think the challenge for 2018 is to keep the groceries balanced

This is all interesting insights for me looking at getting a handle on my 2018 grocery spend.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: mustachepungoeshere on January 01, 2018, 04:59:31 PM
So the final December reckoning:  $547 groceries, $398 household, and $67 takeout.  Groceries would have been better had I not discovered a much-more-awesome ALDI on 12/31.  :-). Household was atrocious, largely attributable to moth destruction and prevention (bug-proof food containers + cleaning supplies/oils they supposedly don’t like), with some last-minute running out of wrapping paper/tape and such.  The real plus this year has been on the takeout: that is something that had become mindless, and I had no idea how quickly that was adding up. 

I had not been tracking before, but I have to estimate I was spending at least $1200/mo on groceries/household, without even counting the Amazon deliveries.  So even in the bad months, I have cut that by several hundred dollars, just by paying attention.

I am very glad I did the challenge, not in spite of my failings, but because of them.  I learned that I am not as naturally frugal as I used to be 20 years ago, and I have identified a number of weak spots that I didn’t know were there.  I have also learned more about what the family is willing to do without, and for how long (e.g., I need to provide upscale meats/cheeses at least every 2-3 weeks or face revolt, i.e., DH going to the store unsupervised). 

And I’ve learned more about my own limits, too.  For ex, it turns out that I like a pleasant shopping experience — that second ALDI was bright and open and clean and had so much more stuff, and I was practically frolicking in the aisles.  It reminded me that providing food for my family brings me 3x joy: one when I am planning a menu they will like, one when I am shopping for it, and one when I am cooking/eating it.  The other ALDI was miserable and knocked out the second part of that fun, and this one brought it back.  Of course, that also meant my grocery spend was $160 instead of the under-$100 I had been managing at the local ALDI.  :-)  But if it makes me happy and keeps me from losing it and dropping $300 at Wegman’s, it’s still an overall win (plus I trust that the newness will wear off and I won’t need to buy All The Things every week). 

I also discovered that my desire for frugality does not outweigh my desire to treat my family to meals that they like, even if they are not the cheapest options.  Part of the reason this week’s bill was so big was because the new ALDI had a great selection of meats, so I stocked up on the maple sausage my kids like that the local store hadn’t had for a month or two, and I added in a London Broil to the chicken I had planned for the week because I knew it would make DH happy. 

So, basically, the lesson is balance.  Balance the fun of shopping with the cost; balance low-cost everyday stuff with more expensive treats.  Focus on “enough” and “sometimes” instead of “everything all the time,” or “nothing” and “never.”

I think the challenge for 2018 is to keep the groceries balanced — maybe $600-700/mo — and focus in on the household stuff and the takeout, both of which were significantly larger than I had realized.

Enough is a wonderful thing.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: DirtDiva on January 02, 2018, 12:12:11 PM
Will there be a new 2018 thread?  I am truly ashamed of our food and beverage expenditures.  We need to make some changes.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: mm1970 on January 02, 2018, 06:21:51 PM
I came in $2.84 under my $7k goal!

But now I have to go to Costco.  We are out of everything.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on January 19, 2018, 12:34:51 AM
Sorry I let this one slide.

I’ll start up a 2018 thread if there is interest. Groceries remain a problem area for us.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: haypug16 on January 19, 2018, 08:25:29 AM
I'd be interested in a 2018 thread!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: kaypinkHH on January 19, 2018, 08:33:13 AM
I would also be in!
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: Linea_Norway on January 19, 2018, 10:35:38 AM
Uesterday evening, when we wanted to shop food for a long weekend, we stopped at a brand new grocery store conveniently placed near the motorway. At  the first shelf we noticed it was quite expensive, about 50% more expensive than usual. So we just got the bottle of coke, as we were quite thirsty and did the rest of the shopping later at a normally priced shop.
Title: Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
Post by: pancakes on January 19, 2018, 07:55:22 PM
New thread for 2018

Come and join us :)

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/reduce-your-grocery-spend-2018/